Learn English – Does “would” indicate intent but not possibility


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if "would" implies intention but not possibility, then, generally, it must only refer to persons not events. If such is the case, then this sentence, "Would it be right to kill innocent animals?" must be rewritten to sound like,"Is it right to kill innocent animals?"

Am I correct?

And if my understanding is true, does it also apply to "will", such that the sentence, "The next world war will happen in the next three days", be rewritten to sound like, "The next world war probably starts in three days"? Please enlighten me on this issue.

Best Answer

In highly traditional English, will/would in the first person is/was not used to express possibility only, but rather intent of some sort. Even so, the large majority of modern writers and speakers have deviated from this practice and use will/would for a neutral sense of possibility in the first person too.

At any rate, will/would has been used by the majority to express possibility for the second and third person for many centuries; it has been used as in your examples for a long time by almost everyone. There is therefore not even the hint of an issue or problem in your examples, and so there is no reason to remove the will/would.

Related Question