Superannuated Syntax: “Would” means what again?

I’ve heard reports of headlines and news articles referring to HRH Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Personal Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty the Queen as “the man who would be king.”

Perhaps that is accurate, if indeed HRH wants to be king. But that’s not usually what the writers intend. They intend to say “the man who will be king,” but they love the sound of Kipling’s phrasing so they use it.

Wrongly. Continue reading “Superannuated Syntax: “Would” means what again?”