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Could you explain to me the difference between (1) and (2)?

(1) He WOULD BE COMING if you hadn't insulted him.

(2) He WOULD COME if you hadn't insulted him.

I think grammatically both are correct. But there is a difference semantically speaking that I can't understand clearly.

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As a native speaker of English, I don't draw too much of a distinction between them. But technically the first seems to me to carry with it a sense of ongoing reluctance to come on the part of the insulted person, while the second suggests a finality to his reluctance. There also is an overtone in the first version that the event is soon, perhaps today, while in the second it is at some unspecified future time. But in day-to-day speech, I would not think about such distinctions at all.

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  • Thank you, Charles. Now I get it :) Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 7:28

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