Access or use of this system without authorization or in excess of authorization either express or implied may subject violators to criminal and civil action. On top of that we would probably call you names behind your back.

What tense and mood are required for "we would call"? Maybe "future unreal conditional plus continuous"? Should it be "we will call" instead?

I think there's some implied text:

On top of that, if you were to access, we would call names.

Looks like it might be a future modal (conditional)?

(Also, how might I have better asked this question? I don't feel the subject is descriptive.)

  • I feel like conditional is most appropriate. Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 23:35
  • Mood is clearly sardonic.
    – The Nate
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 2:50

1 Answer 1


The tone of the bolded second sentence is such an obvious (and, I assume, intentional) contrast to the first one (active vs. passive, casual vs. formal, snide vs. polite) that it really doesn't matter what tense or mood you use. As for style, I would set it off as a separate paragraph, and replace "On top of that" with "Also," "Plus," or "Besides," (with comma) for better dramatic effect. And while you're at it, why not add a modifier to "names", such as "nasty", "filthy" or "horrible"? And maybe drop the "probably"—it weakens the snideness.

  • Thank you for the response. The style contrast is by design. Given that, we can't punt on determining the correct tense.
    – Ray
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 19:12

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