A: I heard he promised to buy her anything she wants.
B: Right. He was so desperate that he would have given anything to win her over.

In sentence B, instead of "would have given," is "did give" correct as well?

Why is "would have given" more appropriate?


Would have given is not just ‘more appropriate’. It’s the only possible construction in this context.

One of the uses of the modal verb would is to express what is called ‘unreal meaning’. It is not the case that he actually did give anything. The speaker is imagining a situation in which ‘giving anything’ might be possible.

Your Answer

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

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