1

From that day she won't / wouldn't talk to me.

It refers to some day in the past. What is the difference in meaning between two ways? Compare it with "From that day she doesn't talk to me"?

Let me guess that both ways are appropriate, but won't implies that she still doesn't talk to me now, at the time of utterance.

  • Wouldn't is correct and valid for the way you want to use it. You are also right that won't implies that she still doesn't talk to you now, however won't doesn't make sense with "From that day" when you are talking about the past. – Walter Jul 23 '13 at 10:23
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    I would change it to from that day on, personally. – snailboat Jul 24 '13 at 0:24
  • Ever since that day, or just since that day would work better than from, in my opinion. – GnoveltyGnome Jul 25 '13 at 13:12
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+50

If you want to talk about the past, use wouldn't talk.

From that day she wouldn't talk to me.

This sentence refers to the past and tells nothing about the present or future. Something happened on some day in the past that caused her to refuse to talk to me since - that's all we know from this sentence. It is likely to be found in stories that use the past as a narrative tense.

If you want to talk about the present, use hasn't talked, not doesn't talk.

From that day on she hasn't talked to me.

You have to use Present Perfect, not Present Simple, in this sentence if you want to say that it is still true now, because you are defining a time frame by including from that day. If you omitted from that day, then the sentence "She doesn't talk to me" would sound totally fine.

If you use won't talk in your sentence, then it will refer to the future:

From that day she won't talk to me.

This sentence specifically refers to the future. It has nothing to do with the present. It hasn't happened yet. It will only happen on some day in the future and from then on, she will not speak to you.

  • What about "From that day on she won't talk to me." Does it shift the timeframe to the past? – Graduate Jul 24 '13 at 15:57
  • @Graduate No. "From that day on/forward" just sounds a little better than just "from that day". It doesn't change the meaning. – stillenat Jul 24 '13 at 17:41
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Wouldn't is probably the correct word to use here.

"From that day, she wouldn't talk to me" means that she stopped talking to me on that day. The phrase "from that day" implies that she has never talked to me since that day. If the phrase "from that day" were absent, then this sentence could also mean that she stopped talking to me on that day, but then she started talking to me some time later.

"From that day, she won't talk to me" implies that she will stop talking to me some day in the future, but she hasn't stopped talking to me yet.

("She won't talk to me", all by itself, means, for some reason, that she currently is refusing to talk to me, without implying anything about the past or future.)

1

The time of utterance has nothing to do with the choice of words, but the time the action takes place does.

If you are talking about events in the past - which would probably be the more common use in conversational English - then you want:

From that day she wouldn't talk to me.

If the time span involved is in the future, then won't is correct. A somewhat contrived example of this usage would be:

I'm taking over Mary's job while she's on holidays. I can ask her any questions I want until Friday when she leaves. From that day she won't talk to me.

By comparison, From that day she doesn't talk to me is a lot more awkward. While not necessarily wrong, it doesn't have the same meaning as the first two examples. Both won't/wouldn't carry a sense of intent or a decision (to not speak), whereas using doesn't indicates that speaking is a function she has no control over. Without intending offence, I would normally only expect this usage from an ESL speaker who hadn't quite grasped the subtler differences between the terms. A sentence such as:

From that day she doesn't get paid the allowance

makes more sense, as this would not be a decision she's made.

  • I'm not positive your last example can be correct at all (outside of using an if.. "if she doesn't get paid the allowance from that day, then..."). "That" day can't be in the present tense, which is the only other way "doesn't" could work. (ex. "As of today she doesn't get paid allowance.") – Emmabee Jul 19 '13 at 23:51
  • @Emmabee hmmmm, how's this? >Mary is currently working in John's position. She receives a higher duties allowance for this work. On Friday she goes on holidays. From that day, she doesn't get paid the allowance. She still receives her ordinary wage. – mcalex Jul 20 '13 at 1:50
  • If you're telling this story in present tense why are you calling Friday "that day" instead of "this day"? Reading that it took me a bit to realize you were even telling a story in present tense, rather than referring to a Friday in the future. It's definitely awkward. – Emmabee Jul 21 '13 at 18:14
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It depends on the context. If you're talking about an issue that's long done and put to rest, "she wouldn't talk to me from then on" implies that the issue is finished.

However, if you say "she won't talk to me from then on" implies you're hoping that this will be resolved in a better manner.

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As you suggest, "... she wouldn't talk to me" refers to events entirely in the past, whereas "... she won't talk to me" in this instance means "she refuses to talk to me" in the present tense, rather than the future.

However, in the latter case, since (as in "since that day, she won't talk to me") is more natural than from.

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