counterfactual conditionals

Fri Feb 18 18:48:39 UTC 2000

Is it possible that the use of counterfactual WOULD V-base in the antecedent adds an element of voluntariness/intentionality--which is not outside the larger job description of WILL/WOULD anyway--so that the whole thing takes on a decidedly 'hortatory' tone (involving some personification where necessary, e.g. If it would stop raining, we could get these leaves raked up). This certainly fits with the two examples Arnold gave.  I wonder how many times there is also a JUST following the WOULD in these constructions.

In other words, are sentences such as "If you would be taller, you could wear a lot of my clothes" as likely as the examples Arnold gave? Just tossing this out, as I hadn't thought about this until the topic came up here.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list