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Why most questions in English get asked with 'would'? Grammar books say that it's used for making a polite request, but doesn't talk about the grammar of the 'would' part.

Do we have to answer questions asked with 'would' also with 'would' or could we use other structures as well? For example:

Would you tell me who that man is? Possible answers: I wouldn't know him, I won't know him. I don't know him, I cant tell you, etc.

Could all of the above be possible answers?

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I dont know why this question was closed. But for the sake of clarity, I will modify the question and vote to reopen. –  Noah Apr 4 '12 at 16:41
    
1) You are asking two unrelated questions at once. 2) The first question is about a bold claim for which you provided zero evidence, and we do not answer questions about parallel realities, sorry. 3) The second question is kind of pointless, as you provide just a few rather random answers off the top of your head that are quite obviously valid. "I don't know" and "I can't tell" in particular make a valid answer to pretty much any question, regardless of the grammar of "would". So there we have not one but three reasons why this had to be closed. –  RegDwigнt Apr 4 '12 at 18:35
    
Regarding your assertion that "most questions in English get asked with 'would'", obviously you haven't been near a 4-year-old lately, otherwise you'd know that the vast majority of questions begin (and sometimes end) with "why". –  Marthaª Oct 17 '12 at 17:08
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closed as not a real question by Matt Эллен, RegDwigнt Apr 4 '12 at 9:03

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

‘Would you tell me who that man is?’ is less likely as a question than, for example, something like ‘I wonder if you’d mind telling me who that man is?’ The answer might be, depending on circumstances, ‘I’m afraid I don’t know’ or ‘Yes, that’s Barack Obama’.

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Thank your for the answers. Searching on Google Books brings many results that match my original question: 'Would you tell me who the lady is?' Would you tell me who he was? –  Noah Apr 4 '12 at 16:46
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