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  1. You might not want to know which student came. It would upset you.

  1. You might not wonder which student came. It would upset you.

I'm investigating the difference of meaning between wonder and want to know.
Sentence 1 should be no problem with an interpretation suggesting that the listener might not want to know (= think about, ask him/herself) who came, because if the listener finds out the answer, it would upset he/her. The pronoun it denotes the answer to the question who came.

But do you think sentence 2 has such interpretation too? (Not a native speaker myself.)

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"Wonder" as a verb is defined by Google as

a curiosity or desire to know something.

It has two more definitions: "feeling doubtful" and lastly "feeling admiration" towards something/someone.
Your sentence implies the simple meaning of wanting to know the information. So definitely the first sentence is grammatically correct.
The second sentence is incorrect because the context of the word wonder is incorrect and it too does not fit correctly. But the sentence can be modified as

If you wonder which student came, you might better not know it as it would upset you.

  • Thank you! As a comparison to your last sentence, can you say "If you want to know which student came, you might better not know it as it would upset you." too? (sounds a bit weird to me) – iyum Sep 27 '16 at 6:39
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    Ya but it need not be redundant. "If you want to know which student came, you might better not, as it would upset you." – Vanpram P Sep 27 '16 at 6:42
  • Very interesting. What about the contracted form for "wonder"? - "If you wonder which student came, you might better not, as it would upset you." – iyum Sep 27 '16 at 6:46
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    Ya . That sentence also sounds just fine. – Vanpram P Sep 27 '16 at 6:49
  • Thanks! Just one more thing on "want to know" when it's under negation. I've been assuming the most salient reading of "not want to know" to be something like "better not know". But would you consider the following two reasons, (a) and (b), as possible causes that one doesn't want to know something? - I didn't want to know who came, (a) because the question didn't concern me, (b) because I already knew. – iyum Sep 27 '16 at 7:00

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