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In the following context is the word 'would' correct at all or do we have to use 'will'?

Some countries grow hashish, and sometimes they would smuggle it to other countries.

Some countries grow hashish, and sometimes they will smuggle it to other countries.

What is the difference between these two vs the present simple form?

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Would makes it sound past tense. Also, "they" doesn't sound right, because countries don't smuggle, people do.

I prefer either:

Some countries grow hashish; sometimes it gets smuggled it to other countries.

or:

Some countries grew hashish; sometimes it would be smuggled it to other countries.

or even:

Some countries grow hashish, which is sometimes smuggled into other nations.

  • Can we say: Sometimes people would smuggle it to other countries? Or sometimes people will smuggle it to other countries? What is the difference between the two? – Noah Mar 6 '12 at 11:13
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    @Noah: "Sometimes people would smuggle it" implies that it had been smuggled, in the past. Use that if it's no longer being smuggled. "People will smuggle it" implies that it will be smuggled, in the future. Use that if you're trying to convey that it will be smuggled tomorrow, or next month, or for the next 10 years. "Sometimes people will smuggle it" is not well-constructed; "will" implies some measure of certainty, while "sometimes" implies it might or might not happen. Hence, sometimes, "Sometimes people smuggle it" is best; no "will," no "would." – J.R. Mar 6 '12 at 11:23
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Would is the past tense: 'People grew hashish, and sometimes they would smuggle it across the border' (habitually: if you mean specific instances 'sometimes they smuggled it'). It can be used even if hashish is still being grown ('Hashish has been grown in the region for centuries, and sometimes people would smuggle it across the border'), but you are definitely implying that smuggling no longer happens.

  • TimLymington- Is would necessary in your example ('Hashish has been grown in the region for centuries, and sometimes people would smuggle it across the border'). Can we omit would? Can we replace it with will? – Noah Mar 6 '12 at 18:03
  • Noah; "If you want to use "would" you need to be talking about either habit in the past, or about a hypothetical situation" (again). So if you omit would, or replace it with will, you change the meaning. – TimLymington Mar 8 '12 at 9:20

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