English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The following are sentences,

  1. I would take the dogs out on a walk.
  2. I would have took the dogs out on a walk.
  3. I would took the dogs out on a walk.

I understood them as follows:

  1. Possible action to be taken in future.
  2. You imagine something happening in past but it didn't.
  3. An action that was happened in past especially more often.

Is my understanding correct?

share|improve this question
The initial examples 2 and 3 are grammatically incorrect. – Matt E. Эллен May 9 '12 at 8:16
@MattЭллен - There's a slight difference; #3 ("would took the dogs") I think would be judged ungrammatical by nearly everyone, but #2 ("I would have took the dogs out on a walk") can be grammatical for some American English speakers, similar to "would have brung". For example, I woulda took the trash out but it was raining, I woulda brung your lunch but I was late, etc. make sense to me as an AmE speaker in normal speech. even though I wouldn't use them myself where a formal register is required. – aedia λ May 29 '12 at 19:52
@aediaλ. Surely AmE is moving at such fast pace that we foreigners can never expect to keep up with its novelties. I would never have believed that "brung" were a possible past participle for "brought" and I hope my students will never come across it, or I'll have a difficult time in convincing them that it is not to be used... – Paola May 29 '12 at 22:26
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Your first example is grammatical, the second and the third aren't.

"I would take the dogs out for a walk means that you may perform this action in a future moment if the opportunity arises, if you have the time to do it, and so on.

"I would have taken the dogs out for a walk indicates an action which did not take place in the past (for reasons which are not explained).

"I would took the dogs out for a walk is not a possibility in English, as you cannot use a simple past after "would".

In a different context, another possible meaning for the first sentence is something that you did frequently in the past, an action which you happened to perform and which was discontinued later on. Perhaps this is what you meant by your third definition.

share|improve this answer
Can the first sentence also mean that the action happened only once or maybe less frequently in the past? – cpx May 29 '12 at 18:59
@cpx. On the contrary, this sentence could be used to indicate that a certain action took place regularly in the past, so that such a sentence may be synonymous to "I used to take the dogs out for a walk" – Paola May 29 '12 at 22:22

I would take the dogs out for a walk this one correct answer normal english speakers to speak in this way of grammatical.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.