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What does the following sentence mean?

If we are going to discuss our deal further, you will need to change the name of the company

Does it mean that the company name should be changed before discussing the deal further, or does it mean If we agree on discussing the deal further, in the future the company name must be changed?

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It means that changing the name is a necessary condition of doing a deal with the person speaking. I.e. - 'I don't like the name of your company/think it could be better, and if you don't want to change it, there's no point in us continuing to talk.' It doesn't mean 'you need to change it now', it's more like 'IF we reach agreement in our discussions, then that agreement will include a change of name of the company'.

Changing the name now would not make sense, because that could be costly and time-consuming, and because if the discussions break down then the name has been changed for nothing. The speaker can make various demands of the other party, but where we can read these as unilateral or conditional, we should always assume they are conditional, unless it is made clear to the contrary, because that would be the reasonable way to behave in business.

So you could reply 'Yes, if the board accepts your offer to buy the company, I, as Chairman and founder, will give my agreement to change its name.'

You say 'Yes', but you will follow this with a clarifying statement in order to remove any ambiguity.

It could be that the other party is naive or inexperienced at business and is demanding immediate rebranding, but we should not assume that the other person is behaving unreasonably, and we should reply as if they are not.

As an English speaker, 'you will need' just means 'at some future date', there aren't sufficient words there to mean 'before the point in the first part of the sentence'.

Since changing the name of a company is potentially complicated and expensive, if you wanted to insist on that, you could say something like.

Go away and rebrand your company first. Call me back when you are done.

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  • Thank you so much for such a detailed explanation!👍
    – beginner
    Apr 5, 2023 at 8:40

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