2

In this dictionary, the modal verb "would" has 14 meanings.

Ok, let see this very short conversation:

A: I'm going to the cinema tonight. Do you want to come along?

B: Yes, I do.

A: That would be very interesting / That will be very interesting.

Ok, let see the sentence "That would be very interesting". According to the above dictionary, that sentence should belong to a conditional sentence type 2 "That would be very interesting if you came along". The conditional sentence type 2 expresses something that is not possible to happen at the present time or in the future.

So, if A say "That would be very interesting", it could be that he thinks that it is impossible for him to come along.

Ok, let see the sentence "That will be very interesting". According to the above dictionary, that sentence should belong to a conditional sentence type 1 "That will be very interesting if you come along". The conditional sentence type i expresses something that is possible to happen at the present time or in the future.

So, if A say "That will be very interesting", it could be that he thinks that it is possible for him to come along.

So, which one to choose "I will be very interesting" or "It would be very interesting"?

I think "It would be very interesting" is more polite, but I don't know why?.

So, conditional sentence type 2 is more polite than conditional sentence type 1?

  • 1
    You have read the dictionary incorrectly. Type 2 is defined as used for talking about the result of an event that you imagine, which is exactly the sense of "That would be very interesting." Neither usage is more or less polite than the other. – P. E. Dant Jul 31 '16 at 18:58
  • When you imagine, you don't think it is possible! – Tom Jul 31 '16 at 23:48
  • 1
    um, no. The modal would connotes conjecture regarding a future event. Arguing is futile. You will not change the language to suit your wishes, or convince native speakers of a novel interpretation. Far better for your learning to read and understand the dictionary. – P. E. Dant Aug 1 '16 at 0:22
  • 1
    If I imagine that something is impossible, it doesn't mean that it's impossible that that thing is impossible, or to put it the other way around, that that thing must be possible. I just imagine that that thing is impossible. In fact, by imagining it, I think it's quite possible that that thing is impossible. See, imagining has nothing to do with the real or even hypothetical possibility. -- Another common way to explain this would without saying "an event that you imagine" is to say that it's "hypothetical". – Damkerng T. Aug 1 '16 at 4:33
1

First, understand it's somewhat weird to have a conversation where A asks B something, B accepts, then A immediately questions it. So this means there are things going on that are not being explicitly talked about.

There are many reasons in language to "indirect-ify" things - examples include telling superiors something sensitive, simply being polite, business dealings, taboo subjects, trying to get someone to take a hint, etc.

Modals, particularly would, should, could, often are involved in these situations where you want to say something, but can't be direct due to some social propriety, either real (in the case of formal meetings, etc.) or fake for humorous/sarcastic effect. Used wrong, modals can make you sound snobbish.

So, your example:

A: I'm going to the cinema tonight. Do you want to come along?

B: Yes, I do.

A: That would be very interesting.

What I gather from this conversation is A did not take B's acceptance seriously at all. It's an indirect refusal. It might even be A snubbing B - maybe A didn't really want to invite B, and B expected A to politely refuse. This is a type of conversation that would probably make much more sense spoken where you can gauge the mood and emotion involved a lot better. I can imagine A laughing at B's acceptance, and then saying "That would be very interesting."

Now, this:

A: I'm going to the cinema tonight. Do you want to come along?

B: Yes, I do.

A: That will be very interesting.

Here, something will happen if B goes to the cinema, and A knows it. A was not entirely sure if B would go and believed that he likely would not. Perhaps B's ex-girlfriend is going to be there. Or someone else that A knows B wants to avoid. However, there is no snobbishness here. A is simply making a comment about what B wants to do.

Hopefully that makes sense. Would is definitely more polite in most situations but it can be used to opposite effect as well.

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