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1. You're the last person that I would want to perpettuate it. (I just saw this on TV. I don't get how 'would' is used here.)

Why not this:

2. You're the last person that I want to perpettuate it.

Or this:

3. You're the last person that I will want to perpettuate it.

Scenario for #5: Hey, if he shows up, do you want me to give you a call?

5. Yeah, I wouldn't mind. Do that. (I don't get 'wouldn't' here, s it a conditional or politeness?)

Thanks.
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Comments  
1-- presuming that the listener is perhaps incapable of perpetuating 'it', or that 'it' is incapable of being perpetuated, the speaker uses conditional-- you are the last person that I would want to perpetuate it (if you were capable of doing so / if it were capable of being so).

2-- a bit of both perhaps: I wouldn't mind (if he does show up and I'm not so sure as you that he will and/or if you would be so kind as to do so).

Bob: Let's play scamble, Ann. You'd be surpised how good I am. (How is 'would' used here? Why isn't it 'will'? )

Thanks.
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You would be surprised (if we played
). It is a polite invitation to play: Let's play.
Are both of these okay? #1 is more denotes higher politeness?

1. Could you also put your car cover aside so I would know where it is?

2. Could you also put your car cover aside so I will know where it is?

Thanks.
No, could is the operative for politeness:

2a. Can you also put your car cover aside so I will know where it is?
2b. Could you also put your car cover aside so I will know where it is?

Your #1 is odd and probably unacceptable..
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So here, #1 is more polite?

1. If you wanted to, I could do that for you.

2. If you want to, I could do that for you.

Thanks.
No. 1 sounds more polite.

I thought we would use past tense (wanted) if the conditional sentence is imaginery, would never happen.
For example, if I were president, I would lower the taxes.
(Forgot to sign in-- MM)

They need a me, I think, Jack-- for clarity:

1. If you wanted me to, I could do that for you.

2. If you want me to, I could do that for you.

Yes, #1 is more polite. Not imaginary here, xsi, but less probable, a more distant possibility. In the arena of courtesy, psychological distance creates politeness, while psychological proximity creates familiarity.

Here again, however, the courtesy rightly lies with the main clause:

1a. If you want me to, I could do that for you.
2a. If you want me to, I can do that for you.

The if of the if-clause takes care of the condition, and the distance of the 'past' could takes care of the courtesy. Still, all four permutations are possible, I suppose:

If you want me to, I can do that for you.
If you wanted me to, I can do that for you.
If you want me to, I could do that for you.
If you wanted me to, I could do that for you.


(Presumably in order of increasing politeness)
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