# Conditionals - Will Vs. Would

•  5
Hi,

What is the difference between the following sentences?

1. A 10% increase in input will generate a 20% increase in output.

2. A 10% increase in input would generate a 20% increase in output.

Thanks.
I think you need to take #1 & #2 as a sequence.

Ten percent will do X.

But if it were fifteen percent, it would do Y.

It's probably an implied conditional.

Right now the input is X and the output is Y.

If you were to increase the input by 10% that would increase the ouput by 20%.

If the input increases 10%, the out will increase 20%.

If the input increased 10%, the output would increase 20%.
Musicgold1. A 10% increase in input will generate a 20% increase in output.
2. A 10% increase in input would generate a 20% increase in output.
I think with this wording they're both hypotheticals and have the same meaning.
MusicgoldWhat is the difference between the following sentences?
1. A 10% increase in input will generate a 20% increase in output.
2. A 10% increase in input would generate a 20% increase in output.
The usual explanation of this difference is that 1 is real and 2 is hypothetical.

In practical terms this means that the speaker in case 1 is talking about a real situation that has occurred or may occur in real time. It's a statement about what will really happen, in his opinion. On the other hand, the speaker in case 2 is speaking as an arm-chair philosopher. It is as if he were saying "This increase would generate that increase IF we were in the sort of situation that we are imagining here". The use of would typically involves a "thought-experiment". Nothing in the real world actually guarantees that anything the speaker mentions is really going to happen.

Think of it like this: What would you do if you won a million dollars? I would quit my job and take a trip around the world. Nobody I know is so confident of the reality of such a win as to say, When I win a million dollars, I will quit my job and take a trip around the world.

CJ
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Thanks for this post, CJ. I know I made a mess of it.

It's hard for me to see the difference with only the one word changed.

At least your example uses the "if" vs. the "when."

Somehow it seems like the intention of the speaker is the same in both #1 & #2 of the OP.

Rgdz, - A.
AvangiSomehow it seems like the intention of the speaker is the same in both #1 & #2 of the OP.
True. The intent is to tell the relationship between input and output. But I think the tone is different. The facts are the same, but the speaker's opinion of the immediate relevance and/or usefulness of the facts seems different.

To my ear, one is the answer to What will happen? as if real action is about to be taken, and the other is the answer to What would happen? as if to say, What would happen in the abstract case, which may never actually occur?

Let me illustrate with another example:

What will happen if I press the red button marked "Detonate Bomb"? is a scary question when I ask it with my finger poised over the button. But it's not so scary to ask What would happen if I pressed the red button marked "Detonate Bomb"? during a discussion over a photo of the same console miles away from the real thing.

______________

Now I digress into pedagogy. Unfortunately perhaps for the learner, exaggerated cases (winning millions, detonating bombs) are necessary to illustrate how a change from will to would changes the tone of the statement from something more immediate to something more remote, because in everyday examples (like this one about input and output) the degree of remoteness introduced by wouldcan be very slight. You almost have to say, just to make the case, "This is black, and that is white." Later you say, "Now go forth and imagine it in a more subtle way, with two nearly indistinguishable shades of gray."

CJ
Thank you.

I have no problem getting the sense of possibility in an "if" conditional.

And I understand the grammatical structures which require "would" as opposed to "will."

The OP seems to present a different challenge.
Musicgold1. A 10% increase in input will generate a 20% increase in output.
2. A 10% increase in input would generate a 20% increase in output.
In #1, nobody is doing anything.

An explosion will/would be heard for miles. It's simply a statement of fact - the same identical fact regardless of which modal is used. Nobody is doing anything in either case.

The result of such a policy will/would be fiscal chaos. To me, they're both implied conditionals. No action is underway. It may or may not be "contemplated."

I don't think "will" makes the result more likely than "would."

The only difference I can see is that "will" seems to carry a stronger suggestion that action is possible in the future.

- A.
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