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Why do we use would in the following sentence?. Can we replace the would with "it burns your fingers"

A hot potato is definitely something you don’t want to hold with your bare hands for a long time, because it would burn your fingers

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A hot potato is definitely something you don’t want to hold with your bare hands for a long time, because it would burn your fingers.

This is a conditional sentence that states a condition that will cause a specific result. Use of the simple present "it burns" states something is happening now, not might/probably/will happen. This if/then construction proposes the consequence given the stated condition, not a present action.

"Holding a hot potato too long burns my fingers" is a statement of present action.

"If I hold a hot potato too long, it will/would burn my fingers" is a conditional sentence offering "if this, then that" information.

If a time is set in the conditional, then the present tense would be used: "When I hold a hot potato too long, it burns my fingers."

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  • too difficult to understand. could you simplify please?
    – santhosha
    Mar 26 '20 at 12:16
  • Simply, the answer to your question is "no" the present tense "burns" is not used in this conditional sentence. Use "would" when a condition is given for a result when no time is specified.
    – Katherine
    Mar 26 '20 at 12:21
  • Can you please provide one similar sentence to support your answer. It would be easy for me to get the essence of your answer
    – santhosha
    Mar 26 '20 at 12:28
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    "If you do this, then that would happen. When you to this, that happens"
    – Katherine
    Mar 26 '20 at 12:33
  • This comment is more useful than the whole answer!. Thanks a ton
    – santhosha
    Mar 26 '20 at 12:37

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