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.

Beliefs

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.

Willingness

  • 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.

Conditionals

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 to morrow?
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.

 

 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

I will have to come to china.
would you explain this sentence?

Hello jackon1992,

There are three different parts to the verb form in this sentence: 'will', 'have to' and 'come'. 'will' shows that you're speaking about the future, 'have to' expresses obligation (see our Modals 1 page for more on this) and 'come' is the verb that express the meaning, i.e. the action being talked about.

Does that make sense?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Is this sentence correct?
I would guess he will top this year.

Hello Asgharkhan8,

It is correct except for the word 'top', which is not an intransitive verb. I'm not completely sure what you mean, so I'm afraid I don't know what to suggest as an alternative.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Could anyone correct it!
He had travelled so much that he could assess the relation between the state and the society at one's airport.

Hello Asgharkhan8,

We do not provide a correction service, I'm afraid, as we would end up checking everyone's homework for them! I can tell you that there are several ways to change the sentence, but without knowing the intended meaning and the context of the sentence it is difficult to say how it should be corrected.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter
Thanks for writing back.
"It would be very expensive to stay in a hotel"
you have mentioned this as hypothesis situation. Could you explain the above sentence.

Hello jackon1992,

'would' has many different uses. In the sentence you ask about, as Peter says, it refers to a hypothetical situation – in other words, a situation that is not real or which is imaginary. This means that I'm not staying in a hotel, I'm saying that if I stayed in a hotel, it would be expensive.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I would fight for my country. Is this gramatically correct?? If it is correct then please explain whether would is used as less direct or polite statement.

Hello jackon1992,

Yes, the sentence is grammatically correct. 'Would' is used here with a hypothetical meaning: I would fight for my country if necessary / if asked / if required.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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