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Q) If someone didn't help you (on a particular occasion)/has never helped you in the past, can you say any one of the following:

a) You would think he would help me. (implying he didn't help/has never helped me in the past)

b) You would think he would have helped me. (same as above)

c) You would have thought he would help me. (same as above)

d) You would have thought he would have helped me. (same as above)

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    They're all acceptable and equivalent. But #4 in particular is a bit of a mouthful, so some people might want to avoid that one. In any case, almost all native speakers would probably contract at least one if not both instances of would there to 'd. Note that the "non-perfect subordinate clause" versions (a and c) could also be used if it's not yet known whether he will help. But b and d always imply he didn't help. – FumbleFingers May 27 at 16:17
  • Thank you. You say, the "non-perfect subordinate clause" versions (a and c) could also be used if it's not yet known whether he will help--- Do you mean that in (a) and (c) the speaker expects him to help the speaker in the future? – Mr. X May 27 at 17:11
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    As I said, versions #a and #c can be used to refer to some future situation (so we can't yet know if he will help). But as regards whether speaker expects that future help to be forthcoming - it's all a matter of context. The exact same words (even, spoken in the same way, I believe) could either mean We can't be sure, but he'll probably help, OR If you think he'll help me, you're almost certainly mistaken. – FumbleFingers May 27 at 17:23
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    Bear in mind that if someone starts a "conversation" by telling the other person what they (the other person) think (or might think), fairly obviously there's something at least a little "strange" going on. Just as there's something a bit odd about saying what you yourself would think (why not just say what you do think?). A lot of "conversations" that include such factors are actually intended to be vague or misleading. – FumbleFingers May 27 at 17:30

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