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Do both of the sentences have the same meaning?

Did he eat something?

Would he eat something?

I've heard would can also be used to refer to things that happened in the past.

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Think about these alternates: "would I lie to you?" vs "did I lie to you?". The distinction is the same. –  Matt Эллен Apr 22 '12 at 17:15
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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, Jasper Loy, Mitch, kiamlaluno, jwpat7 Apr 26 '12 at 16:31

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The first asks a question about the past. The second asks a question about the future on the assumption that certain conditions, unexpressed in your example, are fulfilled.

When would is used about past events or actions it does so to show that someone acted against advice (‘He would eat it when I told him not to’) or to describe something that was habitual (‘He would eat five burgers every day’).

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No, both the sentences DO NOT have the same meaning.

  1. Did he eat something? This means, if the person really eat something. It does not matter whether he likes it or not.

  2. Would he eat something? This means, it is upto a person whether he would like to eat something. His decision of eating is dependant upon his liking, his mood, his ability.

The first one if more casual, whereas the second one is more conditional.

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upto is a "Common misspelling of up to" and dependant an "Obsolete spelling of dependent" or "(US) Common misspelling of dependent" except in UK usage as a noun. –  jwpat7 Apr 22 '12 at 19:37
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