We use will:

  • to talk about the future – to say what we believe will happen
  • to talk about what people want to do or are willing to do
  • to make promises and offers

would is the past tense form of will. Because it is a past tense it is used:

  • to talk about the past.
  • to talk about hypotheses – things that are imagined rather than true.
  • for politeness.


We use will

  • to say what we believe will happen in the future:

We'll be late.
We will have to take the train.

We use would as the past tense of will:

  • to say what we believed would happen:

I thought I would be late …… so I would have to take the train.

Offers and promises

We use I will or We will to make offers and promises:

I’ll give you a lift home after the party.
We will come and see you next week.


  • to talk about what people want to do or are willing to do:

We’ll see you tomorrow.
Perhaps dad will lend me the car.

We use would as the past tense of will:

  • to talk about what people wanted to do or were willing to do:

We had a terrible night. The baby wouldn’t go to sleep. He kept waking up and crying.
Dad wouldn’t lend me the car, so we had to take the train.

  • to talk about something that we did often in the past because we wanted to do it:

When they were children they used to spend their holidays at their grandmother’s at the seaside. They would get up early every morning and they’d have a quick breakfast then they would run across the road to the beach.


We use will in conditionals with if and unless to say what we think will happen in the future or present:

I’ll give her a call if I can find her number.
You won’t get in unless you have a ticket.

We use would to talk about hypotheses, about something which is possible but not real:

  • to talk about the result or effect of a possible situation:

It would be very expensive to stay in a hotel.

  • in conditionals with words like if and what if. In these sentences the main verb is usually in the past tense:

I would give her a call if I could find her number.
If I had the money I'd buy a new car.
You would lose weight if you took more exercise.
If he got a new job he would probably make more money.
What if he lost his job. What would happen then?

We use conditionals to give advice:

Dan will help you if you ask him.

Past tenses are more polite:

Dan would help you if you asked him.

Phrases with would:

  • would you…, would you mind (not) -ing, for requests:

Would you carry this for me please?
Would you mind carrying this?
Would you mind not telling him that?

  • would you like ...; would you like to ...,  for offers and invitations:

Would you like to come round tomorrow?
Would you like another drink?

  • I would like …; I’d like … (you)(to) ..., to say what we want or what we want to do:

I’d like that one please.
I’d like to go home now.

  • I’d rather… (I would rather) to say what we prefer:

I’d rather have that one.
I’d rather go home now.

  • I would thinkI would imagine, I'd guess, to give an opinion when we are not sure or when we want to be polite:

It’s very difficult I would imagine.
I would think that’s the right answer.






Hello Arvind Kumar Singh,

I'm afraid we don't comment on what other books or sources say. If you'd like another source of information on 'shall', this Cambridge Dictionary page could be useful for you. If you have a more specific question, please feel free to ask us.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

In this comment you said "you could use used to .........." Why did not you use "you can use" . I would be great ful to your reply


I'm not sure which comment you mean here. Please post the whole sentence so we can see the context.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Sir,could you please explain the difference between following sentences-

Someone is knocking at the door ,what should be the reply from the following answers and what makes one certain or uncertain in this situation

1.That will be my friend sania
2.that would be my friend sania
3.that may be my friend sania

I would be really grateful if u answer


I think all of these are possible answers. The first suggests that the speaker is quite sure who is at the door. The second is similar but has a rather old-fashioned and formal sound to it, and is much less frequentl in modern English. The third is uncertain - the speaker does not know who is at the door and is speculating tentatively. 


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir

"She would visit her mom tommorow"
Can it mean: she likes/tends to visit her mom tommorow??

Suppose that I'm soon going to watch a movey, but my friend asked me to go with him somewhere, so can I refuse his request by saying: I would hate to miss the movey??
Other hand, can I accept his request by saying: I would hate to miss the movey, I'm coming with you though ??

Hello Yasser Azizi,

It's hard to say what the sentence means without a clear context. The most likely meaning is an implied hypothetical: she would visit her mom if she had the time (but she does not). The word 'tomorrow' suggests a single action on a particular date, whereas 'tends' would suggest typical behaviour, so there is an inconsistency there.

A lot of what we say in conversation takes its meaning from the context. When talking to a friend the sentence 'I'd hate to miss the movie' could well mean that you can't go with him. To accept you could say 'I was looking forward to the movie but I'll come with you (since you've asked me)'. 


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I have been reading the comments about the word 'WOULD' and it is really a confusing word for me.
I just want to know that do we use second conditional for possible and impossible or unlikely situation in the present or future depending on context?

Hi Farooq,

That's right: we can use the [if + past... (then) would + base verb] to talk about hypothetical situations in the present or future. Other modal verbs can be used instead of 'would', but this depends upon the meaning intended.

You can read more about conditional structures on this pagethis page and this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

hi...I would like to know if this sentence is correct.... he said, "my son would leave to mumbai tomorrow".......or it will be... he said"my son will leave to mumbai tomorrow."......please help me....and please describe why one of them is correct.