I'm a beginner of English and really appreciate that you can help me learn more. I noticed a sentence:

I think all the girls in the anime are awesome, but my favorites would have to be Nozomi and Umi!

I'm really confused about the usage of would have to be. What's the difference between “my favorites would have to be (somebody)” and “my favorites are (somebody)”?

  • 4
    It's a way to not explicitly choose outright, but tell someone that, "If you were to ask me (or if you were to make me choose) who my favorites are I would answer this way."
    – Jim
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 6:08
  • It's a form of 'hedging', just in case the person you're talking to likes Adori best. And is the person you're about to ask to lend you some money. Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 11:25
  • 1
    @Jim Please post your answer as an answer. Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 9:43

2 Answers 2


It is an alternative to the word "are" but indicates that the choice is hard to make, or the chooser is reluctant to make the choice.


The sentence indicates the conditional clause and “would have to be “ can be used in the same way as “have to be” or must be “

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