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He wrote: 'Pytheas tells us that Thule is one day's sail from the congealed sea... and this Pytheas saw with his own eyes - or so he would have us believe.

Mainly the mood or the conjunction bewildered me.

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    You have some typos in the sentence which make it a bit difficult. Is 'dail form' meant to be 'sail from'? – Mark Beadles Nov 15 '18 at 19:47
  • sorry for that -_- – nichijou Nov 16 '18 at 3:17
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I love AMERICAN English!

"-/, or so he/she/they would have us/you believe." implies that the precedent may be being presented a falsehood, lie, or misrepresentation.

In your example, it implies that Pytheas may be bearing false witness and was in fact, not an eyewitness to the event(s).

Example: "Monsanto is a lovely corporation that makes safe products, or so they would have you believe." implies Monsanto is (or may be) in fact, not a lovely corporation AND/OR does not make safe products. This could indicate direct mirepresentation by Monsanto, or by third parties ('they') such as new outlets or attorneys.

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    1. I don't understand your comment about American English. Is this an Americanism? 2. Is the political commentary necessary to the answer? – Ian MacDonald Nov 15 '18 at 16:23
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    What confused me most is how the sentence conveys such meaning. Could you dissect it? – nichijou Nov 15 '18 at 16:54
  • Yes, I can dissect it. "-/, or so they would have you believe" indicates and either/or situation. Either the preceding statement/information IS true/complete OR 'they' would have (wish for) you believe something is factual or complete when it is not. – Maria Nov 15 '18 at 17:26
  • @IanMacDonald I'm British and "or so he would have us believe" with the meaning as described sounds perfectly normal to me. – BoldBen Nov 16 '18 at 7:03

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