Here's an example :

"My tastes are very singular, you wouldn't understand"

Now my question is keeping this sentence in my mind we can substitue "wouldn't" with "won't" here right? But what would that mean here?

  • if your question is answered/If you are satisfied with any answer given you can mark it as accepted. ;) – AverageGatsby Jan 24 '15 at 15:27
  • Done that @AverageGatsby :D – Ardis Ell Jan 24 '15 at 15:32
  • 1
    Btw, have you noticed how i used "can" instead of "could" in "..you can mark it.."? Here, they are interchangeable as well but, here, it is actually more polite to say "can", since someone could interpret the conditional as if you would be questioning their ability to do so. – AverageGatsby Jan 24 '15 at 15:46

The simple answer: Yes they are, in this case, interchangeable

The accurate answer:

If we look upon the sentence from a theoretical viewpoint, the two sentences have slightly different connotations.

"Would" is the past tense of will (aux.v.). It is used as a conditionals and to express that something is unlikely to happen. (It is also used in polite requests, but in that case it is, as I explained here, a conditional).

"Will not" implies that there is as reason which hinders him/her from understanding your taste regardless of anything else. E.g.: "I will not tell you why therefor you wont understand it."

But only a pedant would correct you or be disturbed by your usage of "won't"

It is also worth noting that Google Ngram has around as many hits for "you would not" as for "you will not"

  • Would is not always the past form of *will, here it is modal verb and here the conditional that you mentioned about is not obvious to me. Can you please be a little more elaborate? – Man_From_India Jan 24 '15 at 14:48
  • Ok, so here a polite request has been made, like you said :) – Ardis Ell Jan 24 '15 at 14:58
  • @Man_From_India except for the very uncommon "Would that this happens." it is the past tense of will, espacially if it is used as an auxiliary verb. There is no conditional in the OP's example. As I mentioned in my answer, "it(would) is used as a conditional and to express that something is unlikely to happen" – AverageGatsby Jan 24 '15 at 15:01
  • 1
    @AverageGatsby The use of won't is already standardized as far as I know and so there is nothing to frown about. There was a time when both ain't and won't were frowned about, though won't managed to emerge into a standard usage, ain't still is left behind. It is unknown (to me at least) why ain't could not make it as a standard form. – Man_From_India Jan 24 '15 at 15:11
  • 1
    I commented that because of your claim "But only a pedant would correct you or be disturbed by your usage of "won't"" – Man_From_India Jan 24 '15 at 15:17

Try seeing the two versions this way:

"[I'll tell you about it but] you won't understand. (simple future negative)


[I'm not going to tell you because] you wouldn't understand (conditional future negative: i.e., wouldn't understand EVEN IF I were to tell you)


There is a tendency of using contracted form, for example -

I will -> I'll

We are -> We're

The contracted form won't results from woll not = will not

There are many variations of won't - for example, wonnot, woonnot, wo'nt - but they now are either obsolete or restricted in some dialects. Some of these variants are recorded as early as the 15C

won't emerged in 17C as the standard form.

The short form of will not is won't

Note - wont and won't are not the same, they are different. Contraction of would not is wouldn't.

As for the replacement in your sentence, yes, you can do that without any changes being made in meaning. But there is a slight difference in tone. By using would not you make the sentence less direct.

  • Sorry forgot to put a punctuation mark here. "Won't" . I know it is a short form of will nit, but here my question is does replacing "wouldn't" with "won't" makes any difference in the meaning? – Ardis Ell Jan 24 '15 at 14:23
  • @ArdisEll At least in this case there is no change of meaning. – Man_From_India Jan 24 '15 at 14:26
  • @ArdisEll well, atleast for pedants there is a change of meaning as I describe it in my answer. – AverageGatsby Jan 24 '15 at 14:42
  • @AverageGatsby Could you please point out the difference in meaning? – Man_From_India Jan 24 '15 at 15:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.