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With the sentence,'I never would have thought that he would behave like that', does the meaning change if I omit 'would'?

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    I would guess that 'I never have thought' is really a slurring of 'I'd never have though' and so is essentially the same thing.
    – Sam
    May 6, 2011 at 2:38

4 Answers 4

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I never would have thought

this indicates that not only has the thought never occurred to you, there is nothing you can think of that would have caused the thought to occur. It is an expression of surprise at whatever the subject is. e.g. I never would have thought that Bob was capable of robbing a bank!

I never have thought

this means simply that you have never had this thought before, but not indicating any surprise. e.g. I never have thought that Bob was very nice.

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  • What about "I would never have thought"?
    – Jakob
    Aug 24, 2014 at 18:46
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    @Jakob "would never" and "never would" mean the same thing. Aug 25, 2014 at 16:45
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I never would have thought.

States that you would have never, if given the chance, have thought that something would happen.

I never have thought.

States that you had not, until now, thought that something would happen.

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“I never would have thought” implies that you do think so now. Thus events or reading or whatever has changed your mind.

“I never have thought” implies you’ve never thought that and don’t think so now.

More idiomatic are “would never have” and “have never.”

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'I never would have thought that he would behave like that'

This is a conditional sentence with a hidden "if-clause". The full statement is

"If I had considered the matter, I never would have thought that he would behave like that."

I never have thought [that Bob was capable of robbing a bank]!

This is a simple statement that denies the suggestion that Bob's robbing a bank is something that has occurred to the speaker.

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