Ok, I learned that using "Will" when we're so sure that we will do something.

The boss: Don't be late tomorrow

The employee: I won't, sir!

If we say "I wouldn't", then it seems that we think that thing is impossible & this could make the boss upset.

So, it seems that we should use "Will" when we really want to do things for someone

But this said using "would" to make it more polite

In direct request or suggestions we use type 1 conditional. To make a request or suggestion more polite, we use type 2 conditional. Compare:

  • It will be nice if you help me. (direct request - Type 1)
  • It would be nice if you helped me. (less direct, more polite request - Type 2)

And other example,

If you write her a letter, I'll send her my best wishes.

If you wrote her a letter, I'd send her my best wishes.

If we say "will you help me?" then it seems that we just care about ourselves & we are forcing people to help us.

But, "would you help me" make the listener thinks that that is impossible. Thus, the question is more polite.

So, it seems that we should use "Would" when we really want someone to do things for us

  • You've spotted a modal usage of will/would, i.e., a use that conveys an aspect of meaning other than tense. And you're right, would can soften the directness of will. But there are a couple of dozen aspects that would conveys. For my cogent explanation, go here: ell.stackexchange.com/a/87940/20511 If you tell your boss, "I may be late tomorrow" and he says "I wouldn't do that if I were you", how polite a command do you think that is?
    – deadrat
    Jan 1, 2017 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


In point of fact, I would contend that, "It will be nice if you help me," is not of any "type" but, rather, falls into the category of flawed English syntax; so therefore is rhetorically invalid. Better said, " It will be nice if you could/can help me," preserves consistency both of tense and of condition.

  • Really? Don't you think "will be…" should always be "would be…"? Jul 5, 2018 at 19:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.