How does "would" work in the following sentences?

Any food would be better than nothing at all. Any advance you give me would be greatly appreciated.

Does it show a certainty?

  • It's not a certainty that the food / money will actually appear, but this statement is making a very strong claim about the benefits that would ensue if the food / money did appear. Mar 26, 2018 at 8:32
  • This is the tentative use of "would", where the likelihood of food being available is less assured than with "will". Compare the more assured "any food will be better than nothing"
    – BillJ
    Mar 26, 2018 at 8:58
  • @BillJ What does "tentative" mean in the use of would? Mar 26, 2018 at 10:41
  • In your example, it means less certain. If you replace "would" with "will, the meaning changes and the possibility of food becomes more likely.
    – BillJ
    Mar 26, 2018 at 11:21


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