1

I was proofreading a story, and I came across the following sentence :

Person: I'm going to throw a party tonight, and I was wondering if you wanted to join us. (conversation is happening right now and is talking about the present).

I'm not sure if it is the same as:

Person : I'm going to throw a party tonight, and I was wondering if you would like to join us. (conversation is happening right now and is talking about the present).

To me, the first sentence does not sound appropriate for present situations. It's something I would use if I were describing something that happened in the past.

For Instance:

Person: When I threw the party last year, I was wondering if you wanted to join us. (conversation is happening right now but is talking about the past).

I'd appreciate it if someone could tell me what the difference between the two statements is.

Is the past form of a modal verb (could, should and would) interchangeable with the past form of 'want' in indirect questions, or is my conclusion valid?

Another example;

1) Person 1: I have got two tickets for tonight's show, so I was wondering if you would like to go to the concert with me.

Person 2: I would love to, but I will be busy tonight.

2) Person 1: I have got two tickets for tonight's show, so I was wondering if you wanted to go to the concert with me.

Person 2: I would love to, but I will be busy tonight.

Any help will be appreciated.

  • You only have one example regarding the past occurrence (When I threw the party last year...), but then you ask "what the difference between the two statements is". If you think model verbs could be used in this context, you should add an example. – user3169 Jul 20 '16 at 2:47
  • Silly me. I wanted to ask whether 'wanted' is appropriate for both past and present situations. For example : (1) I'm going to throw a party tonight, and I was wondering if you wanted to join us. (2) When I threw the party last year, I was wondering if you wanted to join us. Is 'wanted' grammatical in both the sentences? – S.Khan Jul 20 '16 at 17:46
  • (2) would be OK if the meaning was like "When I threw the party last year, I was wondering (at that time) if you wanted to join us." – user3169 Jul 20 '16 at 18:07
1

Saying:

if you wanted to join us

is direct and not so polite (maybe the speaker doesn't want you to join so much).

if you would like to join us

is more polite and implies that the speaker genuinely want you to join.

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