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Why the use of 'would' in the following

When we tell a joke or narrate a story in simple present can we use 'would' in some cases? For example:

He goes up to this man and punches him in the face. The man looks straight into his eyes and tells him that he will take revenge

He goes up to this man and punches him in the face. The man looks straight into his eyes and tells him that he would take revenge

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marked as duplicate by Urbycoz, Cerberus, Matt Эллен, jwpat7, kiamlaluno Mar 14 '12 at 16:32

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This is clearly related to your other question about would.

In this case I’d say that ‘will take revenge’ would be the more likely construction. That, I think, is because of the different nature of the two narratives. The story about Paul is clearly set in the past, in spite of the use of the present tense to make it sound more vivid. ‘Paul will later transfer . . .’ would have been possible, and even, perhaps, more consistent with the present tense, but the sense the reader has of the text being about past events makes would permissible.

In the case of a joke, the setting is less obviously in the past. In a sense it is timeless and it is this, I think, that makes will rather than would the more obvious choice.

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When narrating a story from a movie(I think it's in the past, right?), for example: In this movie one guy makes a wager with his friends that he would find the name of a school crook. Or should it be "will find"? –  Noah Mar 14 '12 at 10:10
    
@Noah:If you want a textbook answer, it's 'will find'. If you want an answer that reflects the way in which the language is used, it could be either. 'Would' can be used to shift the way in which the timing of an event is viewed even within a sentence. But it's difficult to answer satisfactorily without knowing the entire context in which such a sentence might occur. –  Barrie England Mar 14 '12 at 10:24
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In a present simple narrative that includes reported speech, you can only use would if the direct speech contains would. Example: The man looks straight into his eyes and says: "I would take revenge."

Of course, these actual words don't make much sense by themselves and need expansion. E.g.: The man looks straight into his eyes and says: "I would take revenge, if I weren't so puny."

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And it means that the second example is wrong, right? –  Noah Mar 14 '12 at 10:01
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@Noah, as ever the context is important. If I were doing a written examination in English I would not use "would" in a exclusively present simple narrative, except in a situation such as I oulined above. However, in everyday spoken narratives or jokes, tense shift is not uncommon in the middle of a sentence. –  Shoe Mar 14 '12 at 10:54
    
It bothers me in everyday spoken English. –  Noah Mar 14 '12 at 10:56
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