Why "he would"? Why not "he will"?

Dear teachers

Some days ago I asked a question if will could be treated like would, and received the answer No.Please look the following discussion held between a mother and her would-be daughter- in -law. Why does she say “my son would…”?

Mother: What about your parents? Where are they?
Daughter-in-law: They are in America. I see them on thanksgiving.
Mother: It is so different–your culture from ours. My son would never think of leaving me and going away.


My son would never think of leaving me and going away.

The use of ‘would’ in your sentence suggests a supposition:
He would never think of leaving me (…) if he had to decide someday.

Whereas ‘my son will never think of leaving me’ (…) is a categorical (definite) statement.

Thank you alot, Conchita

So considering the second part understood, we may use would?

Please see below.

Conchita-“Hello, Tom.Will you come on the
forum tomorrow?”

Tom-" Yes, I would (if I could).

So I would does not sound ugly because if I could is understood?

Please tell me in detail


No, Tom!

You are changing gears in mid-conversation again. :cry: With a short form response to a “will question”, ONLY will is understood (and is repeated if you give a “short form” answer).

If you decide to use would in your response, then you need to write or say more.


Sorry, I didn’t understand yet, can ‘would’ be used (without if-clause) in the context, where it sounds as a subjective opinion / private belief?

(For example, if the lady is told that someone else did some shabby act, could she just say:
My son would never do so! (referring to the fiture, but within the conditional situation) ?

Yes, Tamara, ‘would’ can be used without the ‘if’ clause.

My son would never do so! is a correct sentence.

Hi Tamara

I agree with what Conchita has written. The “If clause” is often clearly understood and sentences are very often used that way.

Tom’s example was:

This example just happens to be a particularly bad one since he has used a “direct will question” and a “standard” type of short form response. In my opinion, it would be extremely unlikely to hear Tom’s example in a real life situation from a native speaker.

The very least that would have to happen in Tom’s example (to make it a realistic possiblity) would be, for example:

“Well, I would …”

i.e., Get rid of the word “yes” because you are not actually saying “yes”. Technically speaking, “I would (if I could)” is closer in meaning to “no” in the given example.

As I said, I agree with Conchita: There are plenty of times where the “If” clause is understood. The example with “My son would never…” was good, but the “Yes, I would” example is not.


Amy, Conchita, thank you for the explanations.
Now I’ve got it.