Hello, Subhajit,

"will" is more positive, more categorical than "would," while the latter is more tentative, more hypothetical than the former.

Saying something like:

  • Why the US will never win a trade war with China

would amount to making an assertion that is hard to uphold. Journalists would not make such claims (nobody knows for sure what the commercial conditions will be like in the future), and thus prefer to use the conditional.

Gustavo, Contributor posted:

would amount to making an assertion that is hard to uphold. Journalist would not make such claims (nobody knows for sure what the commercial conditions will be like in the future), and thus prefer to use the conditional.

Hello, as you said journalists prefer to use "conditional" in such cases. But according to the rule of "second conditional" when it is said "Why the US would never win a trade war with China" It implies "why the US  would never win a trade war with China if there were one." So basically It means "there is no trade war at the moment between the US and China." But in this article it is clear that there has been a trade war going one between the two countries for some time. Still why is "would" grammatical in the headline? Can you please explain? 😃

 

Here is another question:

What is the difference between will and would in the following context?

  • John: Hey Subha, did you know Lionel Messi has got a huge offer from PSG to join them? What do you think about the proposal? Me: Thanks for the news. No, I did not know about it. Messi has been with FCB for almost 12 years and has good relations with the club. I don't think He will/would leave FCB.

It is true that the use of conditional "would" can be deemed to involve the implicit existence of a type 2 conditional clause (i.e., a conditional clause in the unreal past) in the context:

  • Why the US would never win a trade war with China (if there was/were a trade war between both countries)
  • I don't think he would leave FCB (if he was/were offered a lot of money).

However, it is no less true that "would" can be used to emphazise the improbability of the event even if the condition is actually present. I think we can certainly say things like these:

- It's undeniable that there is a trade war between the US and China. However, I am of the opinion that the US would never win it. (To express more certainty: I am of the opinion that the US will never win it.)

- Messi has been offered a lot of money to join PSG. However, I don't think he would leave FCB, no matter how big other offers can be. (To express more certainty: I don't think he will leave FCB.)

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