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It's a never ending barrage of doubts about a difference in meaning using auxiliary verbs would as opposed will.

I've just written this sentence, and once gain was unsure whether I should have used would as opposed to will.

(BTW,is this sentence correct: "I've just written this sentence, and once gain was unsure whether I should have used" ?)

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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Both Hopefully you would make some time for me and Hopefully you will make some time for me are grammatical, but they mean different things. The first is conditional on something else occurring before you making time for me even becomes an issue - "If I were to come to your city in February, hopefully you would make some time for me." The second assumes that you and I will definitely be in the same place at the same time, so the only question is whether you're too busy or not - "When I come for the interview tomorrow morning, hopefully you will make some time for me."

That said, I think what you might actually want to say is "Hopefully you could make some time for me", or even better, "Hopefully you will be able to make some time for me." This is because both the will and would constructions are asking about willingness, not ability - "Hopefully you will condescend to make some time for me" - which is not the sort of thing you'd routinely ask someone.

(For your other question, try "I just wrote the following sentence, and once again, I was unsure whether I should have used...".)

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thanks, Martha (+1): then what is a good way to determine when to use would and when to use will? also, why "could"? –  Anderson Silva Nov 4 '10 at 17:54
    
I think you would say "Hopefully you can make some time for me," and turning "can" into "could" is a way of making it less direct, and more polite, without changing its meaning, really. Actually I think "Hopefully you would.." can work in that way vs. "Hopefully you will," but it seems less common? –  Claudiu Nov 4 '10 at 18:22
    
I added some clarification about why "could" is preferable, although it's a bit hard to explain. As far as would vs. will, like I said: would is conditional, will is not. "Would you wear this [if I bought it for you]?" vs. "Will you wear this [tomorrow]?" –  Marthaª Nov 4 '10 at 18:26

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