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From Chemguide:

It would pay you to read about ionisation energies if you really want to understand this.

Shouldn't it be will, this being the so-called First Conditional?

1 Answer 1

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it would pay you to

is idiomatic here. The meaning is like:

It would be worthwhile to read about ionization energies if you really want to understand this.

The pay comes into this since you could profit from the added knowledge, say in your occupation.

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