using of would be + ing form


I am busy next week. If I had time, I would come to your party.
I am busy next week. If I had time, I would be coming to your party.

what is the difference of sense and meaning between these two..?

How to understand that when should i use 'would be + ing' form in sentence ..?

plz explain it in details.......

asked Dec 29 '12 at 12:27 SUSHOVANDAS New member

2 answers


Ok thanks........

Another thing i need to know when to use 'would be +verbing' form in sentence and i heard people use this form in speking , what does it mean. like i am giving an example :

what they would be doing there.

what does it mean ?

link comment answered Dec 30 '12 at 05:51 SUSHOVANDAS New member

Comment on Tolley's answer


I almost completely agree with Tolley.  However, If I had time, I would have come to your party does not have the same meaning as the two sentences originally posted.


Americans don't use the Past Perfect as much as, in my humble Canadian opinion, they should, and the meaning of Tolley's sentence would be clearer with Past Perfect in the 'if clause:  If I'd had time, I would have come to your party.  The meaning of this sentence, and in American English, Tolley's sentence, is definitely a past conditional.  The speaker didn't have time, and didn't come to the party because of that.  Everything is in the past, and the meaning is that the hypothetical past event of the main clause did not occur because the condition of the 'if clause' did not happen/was not possible. Some grammar books call this the 'third conditional'.


This is temporally different from the future conditional or future conditional continuous meanings of the sentences Sushovandas originally posted, in which everything is referring to a future hypothetical event that is impossible, so will not occur, because the future condition of the 'if clause' cannot/will not be met.


Sushovandas' General Question about would be + verb+ing


Present meaning


This structure is much, much more common when talking about a hypothetical present situation that is impossible because a condition has not been met, than it is for a future meaning such as the two sentences Sushovandas originally posted. The 'if clause' can have a variety of verb tenses which best express the relationship between the two clauses.  Examples:


If it weren't raining, I would be suntanning in the backyard right now.

If it hadn't rained this morning, I would be suntanning in the backyard right now.

If I hadn't slept in, I'd be writing my final exam.

If you hadn't divorced him, you'd be opening Christmas presents right now with he and your 3 children.

If I weren't sick, I'd be enjoying the Christmas party.


Future meaning


I don't have much to add to Tolley's clear explanation above.  As he points out, the would + base verb construction is much more common.


I've been pondering all morning about the nuanced difference Tolley alludes to, and I totally agree that it isn't appreciable at all.  But I do think that a case could be made that when you say If I had time, I would come to your party, there is a residue of hope, a sliver of a chance, that something just might change so that you might possibly have time and thus come to the party.  Whereas if you say If I had time, I would be coming to your party it sounds more like your lack of time is out of your control and cannot possibly change between now and then.  But this is just splitting hairs, I think.


I hope this helps.

link comment edited Jan 01 '13 at 14:11 Shawn Mooney Expert

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