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The word 'would' has many usages, among which, I could not understand a few of them.

Source : Grammerly

  1. Presumption or probable past state: They were in the same class, so they would have known each other.
  2. Necessity: He grew so angry, it seemed he would explode.
  3. Uncertainty: So it would seem. So I would think.

Could you please explain to me how 'would' is used in these sentences?

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Ok. Basically, "would" forms something called the conditional tense. A clause in the conditional tense say what would happen if something else happened. Here are some examples:

If I were happier, I would jump with joy.

Here's a diagram of what this sentence means, in logical terms:

Happier -> Jump with joy

The use of the past subjunctive "I were" (don't worry about that, it's complicated) implies (->) that happier is not true. (I am not happier.) So does "would jump with joy," which implies that I'm not jumping with joy right now. But, provided that happier were true, jump with joy would be true.

Note that this is very hard to explain without using if or would. Even provided that is really just another way to say if.

Here are some more examples, with their meanings:

If I ate more food, I would become fat.

Eat food -> become fat

If you were nicer, we could be friends.

You be nicer -> we are friends

I would be angry if I weren't so tired!

Not tired -> angry

Bottom line: the conditional tense is used with an if clause to denote something that probably isn't true, but would be true if something else were true.

EDIT - Here are the meanings for your example sentence:

Presumption or probable past state: They were in the same class, so they would have known each other.

Here you're using would to say something that was probably true based upon evidence, but you don't know for sure.

Necessity: He grew so angry, it seemed he would explode.

Here, you're using would to mean something that isn't actually true, but seems likely.

Uncertainty: So it would seem. So I would think.

Again, this is not necessarily true, but we are saying that it should be based upon evidence.

  • This answer is out of my question, i already know this type of use of would, it would better if you could provide answer of my question itself. – yubraj Apr 28 '16 at 12:52
  • @yubrajsharma Ok, I'll edit it to add what you want. – ostrichofevil Apr 28 '16 at 13:03
  • Ok you'r wellcome, i hope it would be helpfull – yubraj Apr 28 '16 at 13:34
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    @ostrichofevil and yubraj sharma: I plainly doubt the authority of the original post on another site. Maybe it's a typo that ruins it for me (They were in the same class, so they would have know each other). Maybe it's the suspicious comma in He grew so angry, it seemed he would explode. (I haven't looked over every point in that post.) Or maybe it's simply because I'm a lumper (as opposed to "splitters") that makes me think I don't need all those 23 points to understand the usage of would. – Damkerng T. Apr 29 '16 at 0:00

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