I can't understand why the phrase beneath is written that way.

"She needed someone that would love her for more than just one night"

I've seen the same construction in other cases. Hope someone can help me.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Apr 28 '16 at 7:41

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • Can you provide more context and a link to where you found this sentence? This sentence could mean many things, but only context can tell. – Alan Carmack Apr 28 '16 at 13:51
  • 2
    If that's your downvote, Alan, leaving a reason would be informative. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 28 '16 at 14:23

This is a narrative of a past "event" (broadly construed).

She needed someone that would love her for more than just one night.

Let's go back in time and describe it from a contemporary's vantage point:

She needs someone who will love her for more than one night.

What she needs is someone who will continue to love her. Simple loves would not clearly convey the idea of continuation expressed by future tense will love.

The word would is the past tense of will. The narration of the past causes a shift of tense. Now we are looking back at them in the past as they look towards their future. will love => would love.

I don't like using "that" with persons, though some people do.

  • This answer is wrong, it's not a past event, it's a hypothetical event. – J A Terroba May 17 '16 at 17:04
  • You're nitpicking, I was talking about would. You said in your answer it was past tense. Grammatically correct, but not in the context of the question. – J A Terroba May 17 '16 at 20:37

The verb tense of would love is Simple conditional, meaning it's not reality, but hypothetical. In this particular case it's something she wishes were the case, but isn't.

Based on your name I'll assume you speak Spanish, the translation would be:

Necesitaba alguien que la amaría por más de una noche.

  • You're interpreting needed (past tense) as a present wish ("something she wishes"). – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 17 '16 at 18:47
  • I have not even mentioned the tense of need in my answer (and is irrelevant in the context of my answer), I would appreciate you judge my answer on merit, not on your not liking my downvote on yours. – J A Terroba May 17 '16 at 20:36
  • I believe your not focusing on the tense of need is what caused you to say, in no uncertain terms, that my answer was wrong. "Would" here is not a simple conditional, and not hypothetical. Consider: "She needs someone who will fix her roof. She needed someone who would fix her roof.* – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 18 '16 at 10:20
  • You keep obsessing on -need- when he's asking about -would-, it's in the title: "Why did the writer use “would” instead of “loved”" This is why, in no uncertain terms, your answer is wrong. Would is the past tense of will, but that has absolutely nothing to do with this question. The would in this construct is referring to a hypothetical. – J A Terroba May 18 '16 at 17:54
  • Those conditionals are paired with an if-clause. We have in the OP an example of tense consistency. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 18 '16 at 18:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy