Now I'm writing my review of a product, and I'm not sure if I use would, it sounds politer.

I've just used the speaker, but I wouldn't say it's the best.

If I use “would” here like the above, does it sound softer than "I don't say it's the best"?


More than politeness, that "wouldn't" indicates tentativeness. Perhaps you are certain that the speaker is not the best, but you don't want to sound so categorical. Then, you use what we call an understatement.

Instead of saying:

  • I've just used the speaker, and I can tell/assure you it's not the best. (which sounds conclusive, definitive)

you can say:

  • I've just used the speaker, but I wouldn't say it's the best. (which does sound softer than the previous assertion and is therefore more advisable in contexts in which you prefer to leave some room for doubt)
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  • @MangoGummy I'm curious. You had chosen my answer as the right one and then drew back. Any reason for that? – Gustavson Jan 12 '19 at 14:57
  • Sorry it was an accident. – Mango Gummy Jan 16 '19 at 0:11
  • Could you please let me know where I can find the information on this tentative usage of would? I tried to search but I couldn’t. Thanks. – Mango Gummy Jan 16 '19 at 12:58
  • See C1 here: dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/would for example. – Gustavson Jan 16 '19 at 13:50

Replacing "wouldn't" with "don't" sounds really awkward. It would really help to get more context about the sort of feeling that you're trying to communicate though. Right now it sort of sounds like you wouldn't say that it's the best speaker, but there are some things about it that you liked and would like to list later on.

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