I am wondering if the tenses of the verbs have been used correctly. In other words, I mean, for instance, why don't we say"did rather" would"?

Why would he create you so carefully that he even knows exactly how many hairs you have on your head, and then leave you to fend for yourself?

Extracted from That Is So Me by Nancy Rue.

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    Can you explain which verbs you think are wrong and why? – Catija Jul 2 '15 at 19:53
  • In this context, that of rhetoric, there's nothing wrong with the verb usage. Whether the argument is well formed or not though is another question entirely. – PerryW Jul 2 '15 at 23:56
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    Hi Nima. Did you want to ask that " In other words, I mean, for instance, why don't we say"did rather" would"?". You can refuse corrections of other people if these corrections are not what you asked initially. – user18856 Jul 3 '15 at 10:51
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    Look there cambridge: would modal verb (REASON), Why would anyone do such a thing? They must have split up. Why else would he be moving out? – user18856 Jul 3 '15 at 11:03

The reason would is being used in place of did is to avoid asserting the premise of the statement. That is to say, did states that what you're questioning actually occurred and you're questioning why, where would merely questions why.

By shifting the tense of the word to the future, you do not acknowledge the thing in question definitely happened. Instead, you are asking hypothetically why the thing would ever occur - you are asking about the possibility of occurrence. For example, the meaning of these sentences is fundamentally different:

Why would you jump off the roof?

Why did you jump off the roof?

In the second case, you did jump off the roof, and you're being asked why. In the first case, you might have, but you might not have; the sentence would work in either case.

The reason for the difference is this passage is dealing with religion. Although the book seems to be supporting religion, the sentence was likely written this way to avoid sounding ham-handed.

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