What do the three sentences imply?

1) I thought I would never have been an engineer.

2) I thought I would never be an engineer.

3) I thought I will never be an engineer.

Does the first sentence imply that I am an engineer now?

I’m not sure what the second sentence implies. Could it imply that I’ve just become an engineer?

Does the third sentence imply that I’m not an engineer now?

  • 1
    (1) requires some changes and a special context, e.g. I thought "if it hadn't been for that teacher, I would never have been an engineer". Then it means that you are an engineer now. (2) implies that you are an engineer, but not necessarily that you've just become one (depends on context). (3) needs quotation marks: I thought "I will never be an engineer". This doesn't have any strong implication by itself (it could be followed just as well by so I gave up or but then the job came up at Brunel & Co. – user339660 Jul 26 '19 at 6:15
  • what's the reason behind putting it in qutations mark? regarding the first sentence, in real life conversation, without the main clause, does native speakers still understand that I am an engineer now? – Dominic Jul 26 '19 at 6:30
  • If it is indirect speech, it gets backshifted, so will becomes would. If you see will, it has not been backshifted, so it is / should be direct speech, and direct speech goes in quotation marks. The sentence does not make sense without if it hadn't been for that teacher - you need that or something like it. – user339660 Jul 26 '19 at 6:36
  • That is a new topic; you should ask it as a new question. – Kate Bunting Jul 26 '19 at 7:32
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    I somewhat agree with the comments here, but with some qualifications. The sentences don't imply anything; those interpreting them are simply inferring something—and may, themselves, find them to be suggestive. (Only the author of the sentences can say what was implied.) Also, the sentences are ambiguous. Just because it's possible to interpret them one way, doesn't mean it's impossible to interpret them another way. None of them mean that the person speaking is necessarily or definitely an engineer currently. – Jason Bassford Jul 26 '19 at 14:41

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