[Ads-l] "would have"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jan 31 21:23:02 UTC 2021

Interesting.  It almost seems like a calque of the French conditional, which allows the same usage.  It’s a kind of quasi-evidential (where epistemic “must (have)” is more of a standard evidential).   

> On Jan 31, 2021, at 2:01 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Used to indicate a past event known to have occurred:
> "Humans and chimps actually both evolved from a common ancestor (CHLCA)
> that lived around 8 million years ago. Eventually, the genetic lineage
> would have split two ways, giving rise to the precursors of hominids and
> modern apes."
> Brits especially use this construction to indicate something that almost
> certainly happened, but some doubt remains (virtually the same as  "must
> have").
> But the above usage seems not to imply that.
> JL
> -- 
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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