1. What will you do if you find a suitcase with $10,000?

  2. What would you do if you found a suitcase with $10,000?

I know that first sentence is normal and second sentence is hypothetical and imaginary. But as I am a non-native speaker and I am a bit confused about their usage.

Question 1: Can we randomly ask this question to our friend or some other person we know in the normal realistic form like sentence 1 or we can’t use sentence 1 as finding a suitcase with $10,000 is unlikely and this is a hypothetical case?

Question 2: How does a listener think differently for these two different forms of questions mentioned? Does asking him in sentence 1 form, makes him to expect finding a suitcase with $10,000, as sentence is not in hypothetical form?

1 Answer 1


What will you do if... implies that you think something is quite likely to happen ('if it rains').

What would you do if..., as you say, is more likely to be used with a hypothetical situation.

Of course you can ask someone what they 'will do' if something unlikely happens, but it would sound strange.

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