wouldn't/won't do it again

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Carl missed Pete's engagement party, which very upset Pete:
-- This wasn't drinks at a bar Carl. This was my engagement party. You only get married once.
-- [mumbling] I certainly wouldn't do it again...
Yes Man, movie

Carl was once married.
Am I right that there's no conditional in this "wouldn't", it just sounds less certain and direct than "won't" ?
Thank you.
  • macphie

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    It is not clear here who says the line with "wouldn't " as it could be either Carl or Pete. However in either case a conditional situation is implied. The conditional aspect is apparent in the following fuller version of the sentence you queried "IF the circumstances arose in which it was theoretically possible for me to get married again (ie I met someone I was attracted to) then I certainly wouldn't do it again".

    I agree "won't" is far more direct and does not entertain any doubts or conditions. The formal version of "wont" is "will not" and when used in speech adds even extra emphasis as in "I will not be doing that again".


    Senior Member
    English - US
    I agree. He is not saying "will not".

    This is a joke, a punch-line. He is responding to the sentence "you only get married once" by
    (1) interpreting you to mean him, when it really means a general person, and
    (2) responding with a phrase that echoes Pete's sentence: "well I certainly would not get married twice".

    That is supposed to be hilarious.

    Carl is doing another thing. There is a stereotype (used countless times in comedies) that any single, previously-married man has an extremely negative view of marriage. Carl is playing out this stereotype. Now that he has been through marriage, it is not something he would consider doing again.
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