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In American English the phrase "gone to hospital" would not be correct. One of the articles, "the" or "a", would be necessary.

What if I substitute "would" for "is"? Is there any difference?

In American English the phrase "gone to hospital" is not correct. One of the articles, "the" or "a", is necessary.

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  • The difference is that would is more "deferential / hesitant" than is in such contexts. If you like, you can think of it as implying something like If you were to use it (but I expect someone as clever as you wouldn't), it would be incorrect. Maybe not quite that "servile / ingratiating", but it's heading in that general direction. Alternatively you could imagine that it would be labelled "incorrect" after some debate (because not everyone will be immediately convinced; some may need time and discussion to explore the matter thoroughly). Oct 9 '21 at 12:45
  • So, "would" here shows openness to other suggestion, doesn't it? Also your sentence uses a conditional form. Can the type 2 conditonal form be used to make statements sounds hesitant/more deferential? Oct 9 '21 at 13:19
  • No, I wouldn't say "would" here shows openness to other suggestion. Just because a speaker shows "hesitant deference" in his phrasing of assertions doesn't necessarily imply anything at all about how strongly he believes those assertions (and thus how likely is it that the speaker might change their opinion). It just means that for whatever reason (often, because the addressee is of higher social status), the speaker doesn't want to make his assertion sound too dogmatic. Oct 9 '21 at 13:53
  • @FumbleFingers What ia the difference between "would" and "is" here? Life would be quieter without the telephone. Life is quieter without the telephone Oct 12 '21 at 0:04
  • In such contexts, would refers to something counterfactual (if we didn't have the telephone - whereas in fact we do have phones). So your second example there, Life is quieter without the telephone would normally only be spoken by someone who doesn't have a phone (probably having given it up). It's possible (but fairly uncommon) for a speaker to use is there even if they and/or the addressee do have phones. Which arguably might carry the additional implication It's perfectly common not to have a phone; even if you do have one, you know what it's like not to. Oct 12 '21 at 11:10
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There's not really that much difference, although using their contraction form would sound more natural. However, is 'is' a much better word to use if you won't use their contraction form.

For example,

In American English the phrase "gone to hospital" would not/wouldn't be correct. One of the articles, "the" or "a", would be necessary.

and

In American English the phrase "gone to hospital" is not/isn't correct. One of the articles, "the" or "a", is necessary.

  • Would is used to communicate about a hypothetical or an imagined event, and it is frequently employed when that prospective circumstance will or will not occur. While is is classified as a kind of verb where it indicates occurrence or a state, or rather just simply a linking verb.
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  • I often see "would" used like this. My English grammar book says "would" is used to make statements sound less direct. What is "less direct?" Oct 9 '21 at 5:16
  • It's kind of synonymous with less certainty. Oct 9 '21 at 5:17
  • Well, uncertainty to be specific. Oct 9 '21 at 5:23
  • So, the use of would makes the speaker less definite about what they're saying, right? Use "is" is direct. I'm kind of confused. Could you explain? Oct 9 '21 at 5:40
  • Both can be direct, it depends on the sentence. For example your sentence. In American English, the phrase "gone to hospital" would not be correct. One of the articles, "the" or "a", would be necessary. If you read it, would sound direct and showed no uncertainty, but using is sounds much natural. Why? Well, it just really depends on the sound you hear while reading sentences including both of the words. Oct 9 '21 at 5:48

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