2

Example 1

Dialogue

A: I am thinking about getting a new gaming PC.

B: Only pro gamers would go for an expensive PC like that.

Question 1 Is the "would" here a hypothetical usage that implies a if-clause?

Question 2 Does the "would" make the sentence sound more tentative than "Only pro gamers go for an expensive PC like that"?

Example 2

Dialogue

A: I want to buy that tennis racket.

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

Question 3 Is the "would" here a hypothetical usage that implies a if-clause?

Question 4 Does the "would" make the sentence sound more tentative than "Only professional players buy that kind of expensive tennis racket"?

2
  • "(if they were) in your place" is the implied condition. Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 2:08
  • To go for something means to choose it, to take it if offered it, to find it desirable or to one's liking. So there's an implied context of the PC being considered for purchase. Note: I find B's response to A's remark not quite appropriate. It implies that A shouldn't find the PC desirable, as if B doesn't quite understand what "go for" means.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 7 at 0:54

1 Answer 1

0

Conditional is not the same as tentative.

In example 1, would is used conditionally. The idea is that the proposed PC is of such a high quality that only a pro gamer would need it. But it's conditional because the gamer is not actually buying it in this example. (Maybe the gamer already has a PC at that level.)

The conditional nature is shown more clearly in this variation:

  1. "If a pro gamer needed a new PC, this is the one he would get."

But that doesn't make the conditional idea tentative. Compare these two sentences:

  1. "If a pro gamer needed a new PC, this is the one he would definitely get."
  2. "If a pro gamer needed a new PC, this is the one he would possibly get."

Both sentences are equally conditional, but (3) is more tentative than (2).

The same comments apply to Example 2.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .