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In 'Mission Impossible' movies a recurring phrase is

... your mission, should you decide to accept it, is ...

Which of the below alternatives best catches the true meaning of the sentence?

  • ... your mission, if you should decide to accept it, is ...
  • ... your mission, if you decide to accept it, is ...
  • ... your mission, if you were to decide to accept it, is ...
  • ... your mission, if you were to accept it, is ...
  • ... your mission, if you accept it, is ...

The question whether should can be replaced by if was already asked here and one answerer said that if is weaker because should implies an underlying duty or moral obligation. Another answerer thought should is more formal.

I think if is the most neutral (and least colorful) way of anouncing the mission whereas should expresses at least some doubt on the part of the person that makes the proposition.

Who can shed a light on this?

These wikipedia articles English_subjunctive#Inversion_in_condition_clauses and English_conditional_sentences#Inversion_in_condition_clauses nicely explain why this "should you" approach exists and that my first alternative sentence is the correct one, but of course do not address my suspicion about should expressing doubt.

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Both should and if express a degree of doubt. They both acknowledge the possibility that the person being addressed will not accept it. Should just comes across as slightly more formal.

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I would say the alternative that best catches the true meaning of the sentence

... your mission, should you decide to accept it, is ...

Is (in my opinion):

... your mission, if you decide to accept it, is ...

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