Can anyone explain me the meaning of would (underlined) in this specific context? How would you rephrase this sentence?

It's an excerpt from the book In the Teeth of The Evidence: And Other Mysteries by Dorothy L Sayers.

Thank you! enter image description here


It's an insult to Mr. Raymond. It means "In my opinion, Mr. Raymond, you would choose Creme de Menthe, as I consider that to be a woman's choice of liqueur," (and therefore unmanly of you to ask for it). "You would," in this instance, is a type of shorthand for the longer form of the insult.

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  • Thanks a lot Mark! Is this usage of would common though? It's the very first time I see would used as an insult! – Sandra Dec 7 '15 at 12:09
  • You're very welcome, Sandra. Since it is conversational and somewhat dated, it's unlikely that you would run into it often, except (as you've noticed) in fiction. The extent of the insult is determined not only by the context (as in this case), but also by how snidely the word is spoken in speech. It's a usage that would never occur between people in kind and respectful relationships; e. g., if I ever used this linguistic device with my wife, I would be deeply ashamed of my behavior, but there are (or were) couples who might use it on each other every day, which is very sad indeed. – Mark Hubbard Dec 7 '15 at 15:05

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