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What is the difference between using "wouldn't" and "won't" in Example 1?

Does "wouldn't" sound softer and maybe more indefinite? Is it related to the hypothetical use of "would"?

Example 1

I have finished the book. I wouldn't recommend it to others.

I have finished the book. I won't recommend it to others.


Is the "would" in Example 2 the hypothetical use of would? Does it suggest that what has been said is kind of imaginary or hypothetical?

Example 2

Your son is doing well in school. He would become a successful businessman in the future.

Your son is doing well in school. He will become a successful businessman in the future.

1 Answer 1

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"Would" or "Wouldn't" in these contexts does mark a conditional or hypothetical clause. The condition is apparently "if someone asked me to recommend it"

By making something hypothetical you make it more tentative, and that has the effect of softening the statement. It is therefore more polite.

In example two, would also marks a conditional phrase, which is odd as I can't work out what the condition is. There is no need to be tentative. But you might want to express uncertainty. It would be more natural to use a modal like "could" or "might" instead of "would".

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