5

Which option should I use here:

  1. I often think about a big ideal house in the suburbs I will live in without noisy neighbours to disturb me.

  2. I often think about a big ideal house in the suburbs I would live in without noisy neighbours to disturb me.

And why?

Personally, I chose "will", but in the answers there is "would".

11

This is a tricky one. We use will when describing the actual future:

I'm getting married next month! We'll live in a big house in the suburbs with no neighbors and […]

We also use it after verbs like want and hope, that describe a desired future that we hope will become real:

I want to live in a big house in the suburbs where I won't have noisy neighbors.
I hope the house we buy is a big one in the suburbs where we won't have noisy neighbors.

But we don't use it when we're describing a hypothetical future that we don't expect to become real, even if we would theoretically like it:

My ideal house would be a big house in the suburbs, where I wouldn't (or didn't) have noisy neighbors.

Your example falls into the latter category.

3

Your sentence #2 is using would in an old-fashioned way. Here's what Merriam-Webster has to say about this meaning:

*a —used in auxiliary function to express wish, desire, or intent ("those who would forbid gambling")

b —used in auxiliary function to express willingness or preference ("as ye would that men should do to you — Luke 6:31")*

(I included both a and b because I don't honestly see much difference.)

I will do my best to explain why your exercise book chose #2: I think it's because the first part of the sentence is supposed to be a fantasy.

I often think about a big ideal house

They've given us two clues that this is a fantasy: "I often think about," which sounds like daydreaming; and "ideal."

If it's a fantasy, then "will" doesn't quite fit. "Will" implies certainty.

1

In grammar terms, "would" is the subjunctive mood. It is used for aspiration, or for things that are out of one's control. Spanish uses the subjunctive much more commonly, it is probably dropping out of use in English and may be gone in another generation. You might also say, "I dream of what it would be like to live in a big house..."

  • 1
    Would is not the subjunctive mood, and it's not dropping out of use. ("Subjunctive" refers to the forms in "If I were you" and "It's important that everyone be on time".) – ruakh Apr 19 '15 at 1:52
1

-I often think about a big ideal house in the suburbs I will/would live in without noisy neighbors to disturb me.

The use of "would" is more appropriate in the sentence.

In fact, you use "will" to talk about the certainty of a future event. On the contrary, you use the modal "would" about the uncertainty of or wish for an event to happen. You usually use the verb "think" to mean "to believe that something is true" and "to imagine". There is an indication of certainty when you use this verb in the former sense and when you use it in the latter sense, there is an indication of uncertainty; you usually use the "would" in this case.

As the verb "think" conveys the sense of "imagine" in the sentence, the use of "would" is more appropriate and natural here.

0

I think the best way to understand the difference between would and will is to think of would as a contraction of the following:

I will if I could

To put this into the context of your example sentences.

I often think about a big ideal house in the suburbs I will live in without noisy neighbours to disturb me.

I often think about a big ideal house in the suburbs I will, if I can, live in without noisy neighbours to disturb me.

Now both are perfectly acceptable sentences on their own. But the context is key as to which is best. A forceful or determined person would use "will" whereas a meek or timid person will use "would".

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