Would you say that "I wish" carries some sort of peremptory tone, or none at all? The difference being in the context of a presentation:

"I wish to introduce an idea" vs. "I would like to introduce an idea".

Which one would carry less hesitation?


I would say that "I wish to" may, depending on context, sound more curt, demanding and businesslike (in a word, peremptory) than "I would like to".


"I wish to lodge a complaint."


"I would like to lodge a complaint."

Which sounds more natural? I think the first sounds a lot more natural to me. Since lodging a complaint is decidedly not a nicety, the phrase that goes with it is more fitting in the context of a demand or curt request.

However, in a more neutral or positive context (such as making a commendation) neither phrase comes across as more demanding, and both phrases would be appropriate. So it's not an absolute distinction.

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    You're still several degrees away from peremptory. "I wish to" and "I would like to" are considered, where I come from, rather formal and reserved, not at all demanding. Demanding would be "I have a complaint!" or "I have a bone to pick with you!" or "Put down that phone and talk to me now!" – Robusto Aug 18 '15 at 14:28
  • @Robusto The examples you gave would not be considered professional in a formal business context. Many formal business and diplomatic communications are carried out behind the (admittedly hypocritical) veil of a studied courtesy. In that sort of setting, if disapproval or an objection needs to be raised, then "I wish to" sounds better. Now as to whether this is peremptory is subjective; however since a fairly forceful demand may be hiding behind these formal niceties, I don't think the adjective is misplaced. – Deepak Aug 18 '15 at 14:34
  • . . . "may be hiding"? Doesn't sound at all peremptory to me. Anyway, that's all I have to say on the subject, since we are unlikely to find common ground here. – Robusto Aug 18 '15 at 14:36
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    I think what's at the heart of this isn't the possibility of a distinction based on wish/like. It's the difference between, say, I ask you to reconsider and I would ask you to reconsider. Where in general the "modalized" version is more circumspect/deferential (figuratively, the implication is I'm not actually asking you, but I would if you were to allow me to, for example). – FumbleFingers Aug 18 '15 at 14:53

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