What is the meaning of the following sentences:

  1. What answer would that be ? (Is it imagining or asking or what? What's the possible meaning and use of this sentence?)

  2. He is a farmer but it wouldn't mean that he's laborious. (why "wouldn't" has been used here instead of using "doesn't" meaning here?)

While reading through articles in internet i've found those two sentences. But, I can't say where they were exactly.

I would appreciate your answer. Thank you.

1 Answer 1


What answer would that be?

The most likely interpretation I can think of for this question is that it is asking somebody to provide context for an answer that they have just mentioned. As in:

Fred: "I have the answer!"

Mary: "What answer would that be?"

Fred: "Oh, I just figured out [something]."

In my example, at first Mary doesn't know what Fred is talking about because he has just blurted out that he has "the answer" without explaining what question it answers, so Mary asks him what answer he is talking about.

(There may be other interpretations. If you could quote the sentences that appeared before that one then perhaps I could help further.)

He is a farmer but it wouldn't mean that he's laborious. (why "wouldn't" has been used here and what's its meaning here?)

When describing a person, laborious means "diligent and hard-working". Farmers are often thought of as being very hard-working, getting up early and spending the day doing physically demanding tasks out in the fields. Your sentence seems to be saying that although "he" is a farmer, that doesn't necessarily mean that he actually does work hard.

It's kind of an odd way to phrase it though. I would use that rather than it and doesn't rather than wouldn't: "He is a farmer, but that doesn't mean that he's laborious."

In general, the form he is X, but that doesn't mean he is Y is saying that although people who are X are often Y too, they don't have to be.

  • is it wrong to use "wouldn't' ? Why wouldn't has been used instead of doesn't ?
    – yubraj
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 2:27
  • Does the first sentence implys the imagination of the speaker about the answer ?
    – yubraj
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 2:30
  • To me the first sentence does not imply that the speaker is imagining anything about the answer, I think it is a straightforward request for clarification about an answer that somebody else has mentioned. In the second sentence, I don't know if it is strictly wrong to use "wouldn't", but it sounds odd to me. I can't say why it was used in this case - perhaps I could make more sense of it if you had quoted the sentences that came before it. That use of "laborious" sounds a little odd to me too - although it's not incorrect it's not the adjective I would choose there.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 3:41
  • ok,do you mean mary is asking fred "what is the answer ?"or "what that answer of ? " what that Answer of ?" with politely?
    – yubraj
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 5:51
  • In my own example with Fred and Mary, Fred has mentioned that he has the answer when Mary didn't even know there was a question. She didn't know what he was talking about, and "What answer would that be?" was her way of asking what he was talking about. She would expect him to explain both what the question was and what his answer is.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 6:21

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