The following dialogue is part of a TOEIC test I am editing:

W: Good afternoon, sir. What seems to be the problem? M: Well, all of my joints are aching, and I think I have a fever. W: Have you registered at the front desk? M: Yes, I have. And they sent me here. W: Okay. Please give me your health insurance card and wait outside until your name is called.

The following is a question asked about the dialogue:

What would the man likely receive right after being called?

The answer is, "A temperature examination."

I feel that "would" should be changed to "will" as we are asking about a prediction, even if the text isn't about a "real" situation. I also feel that the word "likely" is used which to me is asking for the prediction use of "will."

My question: Is "would" acceptable?

  • I think would is acceptable here because of the past participle at the end. – Archie Azares Jun 9 '16 at 8:50
  • I don't like either. I would reword it What is the man likely to receive right after being called? – BillJ Jun 9 '16 at 9:19

Will is a definite statement, which means that you use it when you are certain that the future action is going to take place.1

Because the question asks what the man is only likely to receive, there is no definite outcome suggested and using the word 'will', would be inappropriate.

  • According to that analysis we'd never say "will probably". but we do! "I'll probably get there around 7", for example. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jun 9 '16 at 9:36
  • Good point! I will need to reconsider my habitual speech going forward :) – leo Jun 9 '16 at 9:40

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