What is the meaning of would in this sentence:

Guy Fawkes established a reputation as a soldier of great courage, a fact that would lead to his participation in the infamous Gunpowder Plot.

  • It's taking you to a point in time when his reputation has been established, but he has not yet participated in the gunpowder plot. It is is saying that that lay in the future and implying that it had not been foreseen, like which, as it transpired, led to his participation....
    – user96060
    Jun 20, 2019 at 5:02

1 Answer 1


"Would" is the past tense of the verb "will", that refers to something happening in future.

His participation in the gunpowder plot happened in the future of him establishing a reputation as a soldier, hence the use of "will", but as that was in past as compared to today (or whenever this text was written), the past form of "will" is used.

  • Is it future would or modal would?
    – Fatimahon
    Jun 21, 2019 at 2:28
  • @Fatimahon future
    – Bella Swan
    Jun 21, 2019 at 4:21
  • And if we accept that there is no future tense in English?
    – Fatimahon
    Jun 21, 2019 at 6:37
  • @Fatimahon but there is
    – Bella Swan
    Jun 21, 2019 at 7:19
  • 1
    @Fatimahon Your question about there being no future tense is essentially of no practical value. Even if you accept that theory (which many people don't), it's just semantics. It is still used as if there is a future tense, and it's still understood to communicate the same idea. Jun 21, 2019 at 13:37

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