I watched a movie by Harrison Ford and there are some lines,

H: I can't talk to you.

J: You can't talk? You won't talk? You don't want to talk?

H: I can't talk. I won't talk. I don't want to talk.

H was fired by a cigarette company and J was a journalist who wanted to ask for some dirty secretes about the company from H. This conversation was by tax.

I guess I know "can't talk" here means "I am not allowed to talk". I also think I know the difference between "you won't" and "you don't want". They both mean admonition. But I am not sure what is the difference between "I won't" and "I don't want".

1 Answer 1


It's a difference between preference and a decision.

"I don't want" means his preference would be not to talk.

"I won't talk" means he has chosen not to talk.

It's not necessarily the same because someone could choose to do something they don't want to do.

  • Good answer. Other options would be: I don't want to, but I will, or: I want to, but I can't. For the character in the movie, though, it's I don't wan't to, and I won't.
    – J.R.
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 2:36

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