Example 1


A: I want to buy that tennis racket.

B: Only pro players would buy that kind of expensive tennis racket.

Question 1 Is the "would" here a hypothetical usage to soften the tone?

Question 2 Does this kind of usage imply an if-clause?

  • Please check terms like tennis racket before posting.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 21:01
  • Why do you want to "soften the tone"? Is the context that your friend doesn't have a nice racket/racquet? If you want to express that even a pro might not have that racket there are ways of indicating that, but it's about probability not tone.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


No, it is not to soften the tone, nor does it imply 'if'. It just means that the kind of person most likely to buy that model of racquet is a professional player.

  • Thank you. However, does the "would" introduce a hypothetical situation? What kind of usage is the "would" here?
    – vincentlin
    Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 1:38
  • See definition B1 here - used to refer to a situation that you can imagine happening. Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 9:08
  • I see you asked a related question and got a different answer. You could turn it into a conditional - "I would only buy a racquet like that if I were a professional player" - but I don't see this sentence as one. Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 9:22
  • It's less definite than "Only pro players will buy that kind of expensive tennis racket". It's expressing possibility.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 8:26

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