would have known

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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would have known

Post by jonas » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:48 pm

When Cortés and his army arrived, they were in awe. Tenochtitlán was an extraordinary sight—far larger and more impressive than any of the cities Cortés and his men would have known back in Spain.

What's the rule behind this usage of 'would have know'? Cuold these have been used: 'had known' or 'knew'?

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Re: would have known

Post by Alan » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:18 am

A good question!

Essentially the reason for using 'would have known' here is to present the information as probability/inference on the part of the writer rather than as absolute fact.

However, there would be no significant difference from saying simply 'knew' or 'had known'.