To hear her speak, I would think she is from Tokyo.

I can't imagine a situation very well when this sentence makes sense.

Could it be used like this:
A: ~. So my daughter have gotten very much used to Tokyo dialect.
B: To hear her speak, I would think she is from Tokyo.

I think it's forced. Could I request a convincing example?

I think the original sentence should have been "you would" rather than "I would."

For example, "A new student has joined us. To hear her speak, you would think she is from Tokyo."

  • 1
    You would or I would; equally valid. Mar 6, 2019 at 19:55
  • @SamBC I got it. So it has a strong counterfactual sense. How about the tense of the subordinate clause? Do you prefer "~ I would think she was from Tokyo"? Or it doesn't matter at all?
    – karlalou
    Mar 7, 2019 at 0:20
  • I was once convinced, but I think what you say makes sense logically, but I doubt there's actually such situations to say "To hear her speak, I would think ~."
    – karlalou
    Mar 7, 2019 at 2:29

1 Answer 1


Both versions, I or you, are valid. The would is indicating that you know she isn't. You might consider it equivalent to:

To hear her speak, if I didn't know better I would think she's from Tokyo.

Or perhaps:

If I just judged by her speaking, I would think she's from Tokyo.

It is indicating a hypothetical, and you can express that hypothetical in a number of ways.

  • So is the "would' of "I would' for attenuation? Otherwise, why you guess yourself here? Could you give me a dialogue so that I can see the situation?
    – karlalou
    Mar 6, 2019 at 22:11
  • I'm not familiar with the use of the term "attenuation" as regards grammar, but I assume (from its general meaning) that it means reducing the force or effect of something. If so, then that doesn't fit here. It mean that, under certain circumstances (unstated but implicit), someone would think she's from Tokyo, but clearly not saying that anyone does think she's from Tokyo.
    – SamBC
    Mar 6, 2019 at 22:15
  • Have the speaker of "To hear her speak, I would think she is from Tokyo" not yet actually heard her speak, but somewhat learned she might sound like it?
    – karlalou
    Mar 6, 2019 at 22:20
  • I guess it's the same as "To hear her speak, I think she might be from Tokyo."
    – karlalou
    Mar 6, 2019 at 22:28
  • No, it would be someone who knew she wasn't from Tokyo, but had heard her speak - and thinks that someone who didn't know where she was from would think she was from Tokyo, if they judged by the way she speaks.
    – SamBC
    Mar 6, 2019 at 22:39

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