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Thread: Which is meaning of "would" here?

  1. #1
    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    Which is meaning of "would" here?

    The game was not unlike the Earth game called Indian Wrestling, and was played like this:
    Two contestants would sit either side of a table, with a glass in front of each of them.
    Between them would be placed a bottle of Janx Spirit (as immortalized in that ancient Orion mining song "Oh don't give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit/ No, don't you give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit/ For my head will fly, my tongue will lie, my eyes will fry and I may die/ Won't you pour me one more of that sinful Old Janx Spirit").
    Each of the two contestants would then concentrate their will on the bottle and attempt to tip it and pour spirit into the glass of his opponent - who would then have to drink it.
    The bottle would then be refilled. The game would be played again. And again.
    Once you started to lose you would probably keep losing, because one of the effects of Janx spirit is to depress telepsychic power.

    I think would has the same meaning in all the sentences, but which? Is it among these ones?


    © The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: ch.1, p.17
    Thanks for correcting me.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Oldboy -- you're right that "would" is the same in all these sentences. It here signifies "often, habitually, repeatedly (in the past)", and thus it's similar to a Russian imperfective verb in the past tense.

    Compare: "When the weather was sunny, we would often go to the beach."

  3. #3
    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    Thank you, Throbert McGee.
    Thanks for correcting me.

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