Can you take a look at this sentence:

"it was 4th of June, and the day after that was my grandfather's birthday, and he wouldn't guess that we were going to buy him a present"

My teacher says its correct, but I say we should say:

"he wouldn't have guessed"

instead of wouldn't guess, it's not a habitual or regular even so we cant use would as the past form of will, I'll highly appreciate if you clarify me about this sentence and usage of the "would" in these kinds of tenses.

  • 1
    Where is the sentence from? Usage has changed a lot over time. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 3 '17 at 23:21

"he wouldn't guess" sounds like he was refusing to guess - like you said "Can you guess what we got you for your birthday?" and he said "No, I don't to, I'll keep it as a surprise."

Assuming that you don't mean that, and you instead simply mean that he wasn't expecting a present, then I think that "he wouldn't have guessed" is grammatically correct, but it's not the most idiomatic way to say it. You would more commonly say "He would never have guessed that we were going to buy him a present."

  • thank you so much that was a perfect answer, it was a great help – Mahan Jul 25 '17 at 10:08

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