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Are there any differences between "What does this achieve?" and "What will this achieve?"

Do both sound like questioning "this"? That is, do they sound negative?

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What does this achieve?

Here, the question is phrased in present tense, with the auxiliary verb does. This achieves something, in general. What is it?

What will this achieve?

Here the question is phrased in future tense. This will achieve something (if it is done in the future). What is it?

Whether the emotional valence of the question is positive or negative will depend more on the context, the emotional state and assumptions of the reader/listener, and, if spoken, the inflection. As far as my own emotional state and assumptions are concerned, consider this example:

INVISIBLE INTERLOCUTOR: What are you doing?

ME: I'm answering questions on Stack Exchange sites.

INVISIBLE INTERLOCUTOR: What does this achieve?

ME: Who asked you anyway!?

INVISIBLE INTERLOCUTOR: I'm sorry, I meant to say "What will this achieve?"

ME: Bug off!

Yeah, ok. It feels a little judgy regardless

  • lol @ the your conversation with the invisible interlocutor. – sarahTheButterFly Jun 20 '18 at 0:40

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