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Why is it "would" instead of "will"? And what's the difference between them?

Would you enjoy being an actor? Why/why not?

Could you please also correct my grammar? Does the way I'm phrasing the question sound fine to you?

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Have you ever heard of this thing in English called a conditional sentence? There are generally three main types of sentence structure in English that are recognized as conditionals. Here, we will only look at the first two of them, Conditional Sentence Type 1 and Conditional Sentence Type 2, because they are the ones that are directly relevant to your question.

Conditional Sentence Type 1 talks about conditions or events that are very likely to be fulfilled or happen. You use the following grammar structure to form conditional sentences of this type:

if ... simple present form of a verb, will

For example:

I will very much enjoy being an actor if I ever become one. All I need to do is to keep taking my acting lessons and working on my acting skills.

Conditional Sentence Type 2 is about conditions that are possible but it is very unlikely that they will actually be fulfilled. In other words, we are talking about hypothetical situations. The formation of conditional sentences of this type follows this pattern:

if ... simple past form of a verb, would

For example:

I would very much enjoy being an actor If I was one. Unfortunately, I don't have enough money to pay teachers who could teach me the art of acting.

So, the sentence in question is really nothing more than a shorted version of this:

Would you enjoy being an actor if you were one?

Would you enjoy being an actor? is exactly the same thing as above. The only difference is in the missing if clause. Although it's missing, it's actually implied. So, in this sentence, they're not thinking of you as somebody who will one day become an actor. They just want to know if you would enjoy being an actor if you were or had a chance to become one.

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Why don't they say "Will you enjoy being an actor?"

If you use would, it makes the sentence conditional. It sounds more hypothetical. The people are just imagining this situation of being an actor. But they don't think it will actually happen.

If you use will, it sounds very certain.

Compare:

  1. I would go to Rome. (I would like to go there but I will not because I don't have enough money, a good company etc.)
  2. I will go to Rome. (I know it for sure)

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