The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

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The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by madman404 on Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:16 pm

First, let's open with a link to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of "would" and it's uses.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/would

I can see where people would be mislead. Taking one look at the simple definition, right there, in plain view, you see this: -used to talk about a possible situation that has not happened or that you are imagining.

So, an event you're imagining. Perfect for an rp, right? WRONG.

Scroll down, take a look at the full definition. Almost every single use of "would" is auxiliary. It is almost never a standalone definer of an action's occurrence, only an addition. There are two cases, however, where it is. It can serve as a standalone replacement to "should" and "could". Given that these are not words used to describe an action that is currently or about to be performed, why would you use "would" there instead? It simply doesn't make sense.

So, to recap. Despite looking like the perfect tense for a role played action, would is not used to describe present actions, moreso actions that could've or should've occurred (present and past), used to have been done, or the desires of a person.  So, now that it's been cleared up and you know not to use "would" to describe an action being performed, what should you use? Here are some viable alternatives.

The present progressive -
Used to describe actions happening in the present that will continue for a short time. Useful for describing actions currently taking place.
I.e: Susan was walking to her friend's house for a sleepover.
I.e: x character is doing x, because x.

The past progressive -
Used to describe an action that had occurred in the past, and is complete.
I.e: x was walking down by the lakeside, taking in the sights. Suddenly, x heard a noise! (Open)

The future progressive -
Used to describe an action that will be happening in the future.
I.e: At 5'o clock, she will be heading to the airport.

IN CONCLUSION:
Despite sounding correct, "would" is actually grammatically wrong if used to describe a progressive action. Instead, it takes less time to type, and is more correct, to use any of the progressive tenses! There are obviously more tenses besides the progressives that are correct to describe an action, but as a native English speaker, those should be natural to you by now. If you aren't a native speaker, it's worth looking over again to make sure you grasp it fully, but I have no doubt you've probably got it by now anyway.

I thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this, and until next time, grammar lessons with madman!

NOTE: I'm only a human, and if I got anything wrong, please tell me!

EDIT: I forgot to mention one scenario where "would" is correct! "Would" is perfectly correct when a follow up or interruption is intended, such as "You would do x, but...". Note that "but" is not mandatory, as if the message that you are intending to be interrupted gets across, then that's fine too.
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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by Galom on Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:54 am

We needed this; thank you.

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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by Articuno on Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:10 am

I agree wholeheartedly with Joe.

The misuse of "would" is one of my biggest pet peeves. You have no idea how many times I see it and get annoyed because its literal meaning is basically "oh, well that didn't actually happen because it would have, but I typed 'would' so it rendered all of what I wrote obsolete".

Remember people: if your character's gonna do it, just do it. Don't type would. Unless it makes sense.

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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by Nebulous on Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:11 am

Neb would give Mads post a thumbs up.
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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by Psychoreality on Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:48 am

Let's put this in the context of where the misuse of "would" sits in RP rules and such.

If you're using "would" in this incorrect fashion to describe your own character, fix that, it's a bit annoying. If you're using "would" in this incorrect fashion to try and rope someone else into an RP, that's powerplaying. It's better to say "There was a chance that [x character] would see [y character] doing [z action]." That's grammatically correct AND not powerplaying.

Just wanted to add that.
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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by Fraction on Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:15 pm

Jesus... now I realize I might have made this mistake a lot. Thanks for this. Upvoted.
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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by Enchidio on Fri May 13, 2016 7:31 pm

omg i've done this a hell of a lot
thank yo
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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by Mobutt on Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:42 am

Omfg I do this too much thanks mate
On the other hand, I feel like people use would for hling the host/events they don't decide the outcome in so that the action couldn't be instantly defined as happening or not.
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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by Lawful Evil on Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:51 pm

/me walks into the woulds
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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

Post by madman404 on Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:30 pm

Mobutt wrote:Omfg I do this too much thanks mate
On the other hand, I feel like people use would for hling the host/events they don't decide the outcome in so that the action couldn't be instantly defined as happening or not.

While there are some times where "would" is completely applicable, such as a description of the beliefs or intentions of others, there is more often than not a much better way to describe the initiation of an action that is meant to be cut off than the use of "would".
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Re: The frequent misuse of "would" in rp.

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