someone wouldn't

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someone wouldn't

Post by navi » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:30 am

Are these sentences correct:

1) I couldn't believe someone wouldn't scream when they saw my scars, but he didn't.
2) I didn't believe someone wouldn't scream when they saw my scars, but he didn't.

Meaning:
I thought anyone would scream when they saw my scars. But he didn't.

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: someone wouldn't

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:20 am

Your examples are too convoluted.
I thought that everyone would scream when they saw my scars; but he didn't.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: someone wouldn't

Post by Phil White » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:46 pm

I agree with Bob. That one is too contrived. Also, with a negative (the first negative, not the second), you really need "anyone" rather than "someone".
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: someone wouldn't

Post by tony h » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 pm

I find the question Navi raises "Are these sentences correct" is too ambiguous. The temptation is to answer the question "Is the meaning of these sentences clear and unambiguous". But, I imagine, Navi knows they are not unambiguous. So the question I gravitate towards is "is there a circumstance when this sort of construction would make sense or be useful? Almost inevitable the answer is "yes" as long as the context is appropriate.

So here goes. Taking the sentence " I couldn't believe someone wouldn't scream when they saw my scars, but he didn't" and just swapping a few bits I get " I couldn't believe someone wouldn't phone for help when they saw my car, but he didn't".

The car had hit a patch of ice and immediately went into a spin narrowly missing a car going the other way. A few seconds of panic and the car came to rest on its side in a ditch. I was trapped. There was no way I was getting out. But I wasn't too worried the other driver would be phoning the police. But time passed. 1 hour, 2 hours. I had passed out when I was woken by firemen cutting me out of the car. A lady walking a dog had seen the car and called 999. The police station was warm, and the cup of tea very welcome. I told them about the other car and how I was expecting rescue but it didn't come. I said that I couldn't believe someone wouldn't phone for help when they saw my car, but he didn't. They confirmed that there had been no earlier call.
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

End of topic.
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