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What's the meaning of sentence "I would definitely recommend this book". I have read that would is usually used when there is some condition involved(I would recommend it but.. ) or hypothetical situation but here I dont see either.

Also, How is it different from "I will definitely recommend this book" or "I definitely recommend" ?

2 Answers 2

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The word would, the past tense of will, can be used to soften a statement, to make it more polite or tentative.

A more assertive writer would use "will recommend" or just "recommend".

(My own sentence uses a hypothetical would: what would happen if the writer were more assertive.)

Another example of the hypothetical, not tentative use of would:
I would recommend this movie, but the ending wasn't satisfying.

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  • What is the hypothesis in your last example? If someone asked you?
    – SecondL
    Oct 24, 2021 at 18:43
  • Had the ending been satisfying, I would recommend this book. Oct 24, 2021 at 19:36
  • Or, to use "if", If the ending had been satisfying, I would recommend this book. Oct 24, 2021 at 19:41
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"I definitely recommend this book" is a simple statement of recommendation.

"I will definitely recommend this book" means that I will be making a recommendation (to somebody) and when I do will definitely recommend this book.

The use of "would" in the first sentence "I would definitely recommend this book" is more problematic. In practice it is almost always a recommendation, even though, as you said, using "would" usually implies a condition or hypothetical situation.

Adding the word "would" is often seen as softening the statement, or as making it seem less dogmatic. Often questions are asked such as "What would you recommend?" In this situation using "would" in the answer is the natural reply.

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  • I wondered about an implied if. This is explicit in the longer sentence "If I were asked to recommend a book I would definitely recommend this book". I don't think though that most people would have that in their mind when using "would" in this way, though.
    – Peter
    Oct 24, 2021 at 6:58

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