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Following Martha's advise I am splitting up a question Compound sentences, the punctuation and mooore.

  1. When I describe consequences of some actions one can take, what form of the verb "will" should I use?
  2. If both are generally allowed, how do they change the meaning?

Consider the following sentence:

Changes [will/would] not be reflected in the tree structure until the node is manually toggled.

To understand the context, suppose one have performed actions that indirectly affect a tree structure. In an amicable way, these changes should be reflected in the structure. But they would not for some reason, and one must take an additional action for them to appear.

The problem is that I don't know whether these action have been taken by anyone or whether anyone will ever perform them. It's just about that such actions exist.

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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

See here for a definition of the difference between "will" and "would":

Will is a definite statement, which means that you use it when you are certain that the future action is going to take place.

Would is an English modal verb and has many different uses, which include: invitations, requests, asking permission, talking about preferences and making arrangements.

So in your case, let me make an example:

If you were writing a requirements analysis, use "would". You are requesting a certain behavior.

If you are writing a user manual or describing existing functionality, the consequence of the action is implemented and definite. Therefore use will.

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Personally, I would use should in requirements analysis, but I agree with the answer. –  Andrey Shchekin Oct 27 '10 at 9:52
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