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A recent study of children aged between four and eleven years old has revealed that their notion of the ideal home presents major challenges to conventional wisdom. More than a quarter of the youngest group expressed a desire to live in a house made either entirely of sweets or of toys rather than more traditional materials. One in four boys and nearly half the girls would choose to live in a fairytale castle.

I wonder if it will be acceptable to replace "would choose" with "chose";and if the answer is positive, will there be any difference in meaning?

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  • Why would you want to? What do you think you would be changing about that sentence?
    – JMB
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 9:22
  • @JMB: As a non-native speaker, I would go for "chose" but I'm not sure whether it is proper English or not. On the other had, I'd like to know why a native speaker has chosen this structure and what has he/she tried to express through this choice?
    – M.N
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 9:28
  • Would choose, definitely! Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 10:12
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    I would choose would choose … I'd also like to live in a fairytale castle ;) Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 10:54

3 Answers 3

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They cannot choose to live in a fairy-tale castle because no such castles exist. So we cannot say 'they chose'. But if such castles existed, they would choose to live in one.

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"Chose" concretely talks about the children who took part in the study. "Would choose" refers to children in general. The conditional (would) is used to express something similar to the following:

If children could choose their ideal home, one in four boys and nearly half of girls would choose to live in a fairytale castle.

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The construction is would+normal verb to show the future possibility. If you want 'chosen' i.e. participle, the format is would+have+chosen. If you want 'would chose', I'm afraid, it's incorrect.

Now, why did the author would choose to write that way? :)

Well, when you talk about general things, future things or someone's wish as you predict, you use such construction.

In present context, you are predicting their (obvious) choice.

One in four boys and nearly half the girls would choose to live in a fairytale castle.

You may also come up with other examples:

I would buy Bentley over Audi
She would prefer a French movie during weekends
He would play baseball, and not cricket

In all these sentences, you are predicting the actions. One of the uses of the format 'would+normal verb' is that.

Again, be careful, would chose is incorrect; don't use it.

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  • Thanks for you answer but could we say "would has chosen"?!As far as I know only "would have chosen", in your example, is correct.
    – M.N
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 13:22
  • Oh yes...I just missed it. Corrected. :)
    – Maulik V
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 4:37

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