You don't want to criticize them <for fear that> you <'ll> become unpopular

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park sang joon

Senior Member
You don't want to criticize them for fear that you'll become unpopular, with the likelihood that there colleagues will make it harder for you to get ahead.
[Source: Reading for Results Ninth Edition by Laraine Flemming]
I'd like to know if nowadays people intend to use "will/ would" rather than "should."
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    What I would take as a correct version of this is "You don't want to criticize them for fear that you become unpopular", which is a present subjunctive.

    The future tense " will become unpopular" sounds natural to me particularly in spoken English, but I'm not so sure about either "would" or "should". Of the two, I prefer "would": "should" sounds a bit stilted. Another possibility, if you want to use a modal verb there is "might": "...for fear that you might become unpopular" would work, I think. :)


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'd run a mile before I'd use the subjunctive there, as it just seems too old-fashioned in this case. I would happily use "for fear of becoming unpopular" instead.

    I agree with Donny that "might" is a strong contender if you are going to use a modal verb.
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