He promised he would come to the party. And I said I would be disappointed if he didn't / wouldn't.

It seems like it's the second conditional, which means the right option is didn't. However, I took the phrase from an American sitcom where it was said with wouldn't. So I wonder whether the only correct option in this phrase is didn't, or maybe it's also acceptable to use wouldn't here.

  • 1
    "He promised he would come to the party. And I said I would be disappointed if he wouldn't" sounds just plain wrong to me. If you gave us a link to the episode, and a time stamp, we might be able to be more helpful. Note that sometimes characters in sitcoms speak a little sloppily.
    – J. Doe
    Oct 2, 2016 at 23:24
  • "Didn't" would be disappointment after never appearing at the party. "Wouldn't" is disappointment during this conversation when he was invited and turned it down. It seemed straightforward I wrote that but another interpretation refers to the promise rather than the actual attendance. In that case you could probably use either one.
    – shawnt00
    Oct 3, 2016 at 16:34

1 Answer 1


That's a bit tricky there...

At some point I'd say it is depending on the situation. Didn't could than be used as a more strict way to express yourself than wouldn't, because you could add "didn't come!" or "wouldn't consider coming." after those phrases.

On the other hand it would be pretty illogical to add another condition by using the second would in the sentence, because it would kind of mean that you would be sad, if he wouldn't come but wouldn't mind that much.

After all I'd say that (in context) didn't is more likely to be used instead of wouldn't.

  • "Unlogic" isn't a word. Do you mean "illogical"?
    – Catija
    Oct 2, 2016 at 10:51
  • @Catija Yeah you're totally right... :> Oct 2, 2016 at 10:56

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