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In one strip of Peanuts, Charlie Brown say to Snoopy, who's playing golf,

  • "I'd be interested to know what your handicap is these days."

Is there any difference between "I'd be interested" and "I'm interested"?

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"I'd be interested" is slightly softer and thus more polite.

If you say "I'm interested", you're directly stating that you want to know the information.

If you say "I'd be interested", what is implied is "I'd be interested IF you were to tell me, which I'm not telling you to do".

This is an instance of a process in English in which the polite way to ask someone to do something has become increasingly indirect. For example, "Please turn off the light" -> "Could you please turn off the light?" -> "Would you mind turning off the light?" -> "Do you want to turn off the light?" (the latter being a recent innovation).

I'd say that in the specific situation above, "I'd be interested to know" is more common.

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    Interestingly, the word "please" is an abbreviated form of "if it pleases you", which also functions to avoid sounding like a command. However, having been thus abbreviated, over time it has come to no longer sound adequately gentle.
    – PoolOfPeas
    Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 0:34

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