1. I can't imagine she would have arrived yet. [speculation]

  2. I can't imagine she will have arrived yet. [speculation]

Are they both correct and do they mean the same?


Yes, there is a difference in meaning.

Asking "will you do [x]" is a direct question that invites a 'yes or no' response, whereas asking "would you do [x]" is a hypothetical question that invites a hypothetical answer, perhaps with conditions.

For example:

  • Will you buy a Lexus?
  • I will, when the price goes down. (certain, but with a condition)
  • Would you buy a Lexus?
  • If I had the money, I would. (hypothetical)

"Will she have arrived yet?" suggests that the answer will be either yes, or no - perhaps that time is the only factor in whether her journey is complete.

"Would she have arrived yet?" suggests that there may be some reason why she would not have - that the person being asked has further insight into the logistics of the journey.

  • So "she would have arrived yet" is NOT like the result clause of a third conditional: If she had studied, she would have passed the exam. Here we know that she did not pass. Instead it implies there is a possibility that she has actually arrived. Am I right?
    – Mr. X
    May 13 at 14:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.