2

What is the difference between the following sentences?

(1) You/I need to do it

(2) You/I would need to do it

Do we use the second one for distancing from reality and being more polite?

2
  • (2) could occur in backshift or express modal remoteness depending on context.
    – BillJ
    Nov 24, 2020 at 17:48
  • 1
    You need more context to be sure. In some contexts the would is required, in some it is just a linguistic flourish that can be excluded without loss, in some it is wrong usage. We need to know what prompted the statement to give advice.
    – jwpfox
    Nov 24, 2020 at 21:04

2 Answers 2

2

"I need to do it."

This usage expresses immediate necessity - similar to "must do it" but it shows less emphasis and obligation.

"I would need to do it."

In this example, the modal expresses a hypothetical situation such as a conditional:

"[If something happened,] I would need..."

or can imply the behavior of a person, or a different temporal view(time of utterance).

It doesn't necessarily mean the speaker wants to be polite, though it can in a different context.

1
  • Could you please clarify what you mean by "the behaviour of a person" or "a different temporal view"?
    – F.K
    Nov 30, 2020 at 3:56
0

Both the sentences are correct. The word would sounds less direct & more polite. Besides, would indicates a possibility, i.e., I'm not yet certain to do something : I would need to do it if you want. Here my decision depends on whether you want.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .