I'm a little bit baffled why there are two "woulds" in this dialogue? Why doesn't speaker B use "will?"

A: Which sentence is your choice?

  1. If I study hard then I will succeed.
  2. If I study hard I will then succeed.
  3. If I study hard I will succeed.

B: They are all grammatically correct. Which one I would choose would depend on the situation.

  • The sentence in question is also grammatically correct, but you could say "Which one I would chose depends on the situation / context" Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 11:43
  • 1
    Should be "which one I chose" in a traditional analysis, but pairing two "would"s is so common one might as well call it standard. Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 12:36
  • 1
    You don't need either of the modals. They're both really just "fillers, hedges". Plain Which [one] I choose depends on context is fine. It's splitting hairs to claim that any particular combination of additional will's and would's could usefully contribute to / modify the meaning, in almost all feasible contexts. They're just ringing the syntactic changes for the sake of variety. Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 13:14
  • 1
    @Nyambek A speaker using will there expects to have a choice (it is not a hypothetical situation), and is saying that the choice has not already been made. The circumstances at the time will be a consideration.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 13:25
  • 2
    For most native speakers, I'd say, though perhaps not for all, will is used with situations that are expected to occur, not with hypotheticals. A general manager for a football team, for example, might use will when referring to the choices he expects to have when acquiring new players for the team. Who I will choose will depend on the situation. But a fan of the team, imagining himself to be in the general manager's shoes, would probably say Who I would choose would depend on the situation.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


Both "Would"s here are in the irrealis mood, which indicates unreal situations, as with unreal conditionals.

"...would choose..." indicates speaker B doesn't have to choose among those three possibilities.

"...would depend..." indicates that nothing depends on the situation because the situation doesn't exist.

Expanded to full unreal conditionals, it might read like this:

If I had to choose which sentence to use from among those three, which one I would choose would depend on the situation.

Using "will" is incorrect both because we cannot use "will" in an irrealis mood clause, and because it wouldn't be about the future, even if it were in realis mood.

You must log in to answer this question.

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