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I know how conditional if clause sentences work. I'm aware of the rules which I have to follow. However, I sometimes use would after would which of course is incorrect in terms of grammar.

Is there any example where you could use would after you had already used would in the first clause?

For instance:

If I would be rich, I would definitely buy a car.

I know that it should be

If I was/were rich, I would buy a car

But I am asking for an example where would after would would be appropriate.

11 Answers 11

65

Use of deontic would in the protasis and epistemic would in the apodosis:

“If you would all PLEASE take your seats, we would actually be able to get started on time for once.”

Non-native speakers should probably not attempt this.

Explanation

The asker appears to be looking for a counterexample to the simplistic “rule” sometimes taught to English language learners never to put would on both sides of a conditional.

Normally this is true, but you actually can put would in the “if” part not just the “then” part provided that the first one carries the special restricted sense of were willing to or wanted to.

  • If only you would write more carefully, you would get higher test scores.
  • If only you were willing to write more carefully, you would get higher test scores.
  • If only you could write more carefully, you would get higher test scores.

  • I would give it a shot if you would like me to.
  • I would give it a shot if you wanted me to.

The English modal system is much more flexible and varied than simple “rules” are much good at explaining.

  • 5
    Sure, sure, kid stuff, but can you fit the volitive into the peridosis? – Dan Bron Jan 19 '18 at 19:23
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    I don't think native speakers should attempt that either. No one would actually say it that way. They might say “If you would all PLEASE take your seats, we can get started on time.” – Michael Geary Jan 19 '18 at 23:12
  • 10
    +1 for "don't try this at home kids" – scohe001 Jan 19 '18 at 23:40
  • 5
    @MichaelGeary My mother-in-law from an Old Southern Ontario Family would have used would there. – Al Maki Jan 20 '18 at 0:59
  • 14
    @AlMaki She would, would she? – Michael Geary Jan 20 '18 at 1:02
43

I can think of five hundred ways to destroy him: how I would would not be a problem.

Disclaimer: Not a native speaker.

  • 1
    Other than punctuation, that's just fine (speaking as a native speaker). And sometimes punctuation is a matter of style. (FWIW: "I can think of five hundred ways to destroy him. How I would, would not be a problem.") – T.J. Crowder Jan 20 '18 at 8:22
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    Just my 2 cents: I disagree with @TJCrowder. Adding that comma between the "would"s feels nicer because it expresses the pause in the sentence that a native speak would natural take. However, the repetition is not used for emphasis (like "very, very"), and the comma is not a replacement for a conjunction or used to divide a dependent clause from an independent clause. Instead, it separates the subject from the verb (slicing the sentence in two), and therefore I think it is ungrammatical. As an example, does the following sentence look correct? "How I would do it, would not be a problem." – Geoffrey Jan 20 '18 at 23:01
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    @Geoffrey is absolutely right here. The comma is ungrammatical. And beyond being ungrammatical, inserting it damages the flow and comprehensibility of the sentence. – R.. Jan 21 '18 at 3:59
  • @R I think the comma in T.J Crowder's comment is an improvement. I would certainly use it (precisely to indicate the pause). – Martin Bonner Jan 22 '18 at 10:53
30

"Would you ever use would twice in a sentence?"

"I would, but would you?"

The first is mentioned but you could count it as a use. In the second case you could omit the but and have the two words consecutive with only a comma in between.

  • That was a nice one xd – eugene_sunic Jan 19 '18 at 19:07
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    The lyrics of "Would You" from "Singing in the Rain" make repeated use of a similar construction. – jejorda2 Jan 19 '18 at 19:29
15

George and Ira Gershwin have a great example for you:

He'll build a little home

That's meant for two,

From which I'll never roam,

Who would, would you?

And so all else above

I'm dreaming of the man I love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGe-i7mRMes&feature=share

  • 2
    This is not a conditional structure. – user1803551 Jan 22 '18 at 10:32
7

You can use "would" twice in a sentence with no intervening words!

Example:

One does not ask, as Americans would: “Would you like something to drink?,” because social etiquette would require the guest to answer in the negative.

Source Basic Spoken Chinese: An Introduction to Speaking and Listening for ... - Cornelius C. Kubler - Google Books

4

I realize the question is about conditionals. However, you can have "would" directly after "would" if you have a noun phrase ending with "would" that serves as the subject of your sentence, e.g.: He tells you that he would never do that, but someone who would would never admit it.

3

I would appreciate it very much if you would give me the answer to this question.

This sentence might imply that the other person has the answer but possibly doesn't want to share it with me.

1

I would not do what they would do.

(replace do with whatever verb)

1

Indeed, you can get several instances of would in a single sentence.

Would that you should, I wouldn't have tried what you would have, would I?

(expressing that, desirable as the case where the second person is obligated to act, the first person prefers a different method or result than the second person, and rhetorically seeking confirmation of that fact)

  • desirable as ... may be? I also cannot shake the impression that your example should be two sentences. – hkBst Jan 26 '18 at 8:24
1

Here's a valid example of doing it.

Yes, this is link only: I meant it to be that way because the link leads directly back to the question.

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    That's not how we do things around here. Please replace your link with whatever point you are trying to make. Otherwise your post may be deleted – tchrist Jan 21 '18 at 0:14
  • @tchrist I know it normally isn't. Look at my link first. – Loren Pechtel Jan 21 '18 at 0:28
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    Hi Loren: I think a compromise can be reached. You can maintain the sense of surprise somebody gets from checking the link by spelling out what you mean in a spoiler tags. Spoilers can be made by using >! at the beginning of a line in markdown. I've applied an edit to show you what I mean. More explanation regarding why the result in your link is valid within the spoilers would probably still be preferable though. – Tonepoet Jan 21 '18 at 2:46
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    @Tonepoet Yeah, that works. I don't know why I didn't think of the spoiler tags. I figured the link was basically guaranteed not to rot which is the main reason against them. – Loren Pechtel Jan 21 '18 at 4:17
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    Nah, don't like it. You're not highlighting the title as I suspect you want to highlight, so there's three possible sentences you could be referring to (title and two examples from the OP), one of which should use were instead of would and therefore makes the ambiguity a bad thing. – person27 Jan 21 '18 at 18:00
-1

Well, there is this nice tongue tripper:

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?

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    That last "would" should be a "could". – AndyT Jan 22 '18 at 15:55

protected by Mari-Lou A Jan 21 '18 at 0:19

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