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When do we use each of the following?

I don't want to ...

I won't want to ...

I wouldn't want to ...

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closed as general reference by kiamlaluno, Jasper Loy, Kit Z. Fox, aedia λ, yoozer8 Nov 13 '11 at 4:38

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer 1

Don't means do not, won't means will not, and wouldn't means would not.

I don't want to do X.

This per se means you currently don't want to do it; however, for a native speaker, if X is defined to be a future event, it can mean "would not" (e.g. I don't want to do X even if I get the chance). However, for a native speaker, a more natural-sounding way to say this would be "I don't think I'll want to do X."

I won't want to do X.

This means that as far as you now know, when in future the chance comes to you, you will not want to do it. It implies that the chance will at least probably come.

I wouldn't want to do X.

This means if in future the chance comes to you, you will not want to do it. It implies that the chance might not ever come. Would is usually qualified with an "if" clause, e.g:

If I ever was given the choice, I would not want to do X.

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It may be worth mentioning that native speakers probably don't use "won't want to do..." for most future situations. Consider: "I don't want to go skydiving even if we get the chance when we're on vacation", or "I don't think I'll want to go skydiving..." are probably more likely utterances than, "I won't want to go skydiving..." – aedia λ Aug 28 '11 at 22:47
How's the edit? – Daniel Aug 28 '11 at 23:14
In many/most usages concerning want, I think people don't care that much about present/conditional/future tense, because the "I" of now and of the future are assumed to be the same person, whose choices remain constant. There's also the implied 'hesitancy/deference/politeness' of common usages like "I wouldn't want to trouble you, but..." instead of "I don't want to...". – FumbleFingers Aug 28 '11 at 23:24
+1 Very true; I agree. – Daniel Aug 28 '11 at 23:25
Thank you very much. – learner Aug 29 '11 at 3:27

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