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

hi,

Its bearing from us was about Southeast by South, and its distance nearly twice that of Everest, which lay chiefly to the Southwest.

why i find it as a hard sentence?

HI sivagettoknow,

I have no idea why you find this a hard sentence! If you have a specific question about it then we'll try to help, though we focus more on the examples on our pages than examples from elsewhere.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi sir,
what is the sense of this,
I wish you would come to see me more often.
Is it giving any sense,that you are hopping his/her coming?

Hello dlis,

Yes, that is correct: the speaker would be happy to see the other person more often.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir, I have read in http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/would-never-or-would-entirely-avo... that we use would for "The regular habit/practice". The website says

Would is also used to indicate a habit
A: "Look what you have written here, "If you want to see mountains and beautiful valleys, go to nepal."
B: "What is wrong with that?"
A: "I would never write "Nepal" without a capital letter." -> Here the would indicates a habit or regular practice. " My/The regular practice is never to write "Nepal" without a capital letter."

Do we really use "would" to mean "The regular practice/habit"( Which stated in past and continues to present ? Is this meaning of would has been listed in here in Britishcouncil page ?

Hello Englishlover,

In your example sentence, 'would' is not used to speak about a habit; it's used to talk about a hypothesis, i.e. something imaginary that is not real. You writing 'nepal' is imaginary because you would never do it.

The use of 'would' to talk about repeated past actions (habits) that you are referring to is not mentioned on this page, but is part of the description on our talking about the past and Past Habit pages. The second one will probably be particularly helpful for you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir, Thank you for replying. But the website is telling that 'would' is also used as 'The regular practice/habit(which started in past and conueous to present) Do you call this is wrong?

Hello Englishlover,

I'm afraid we don't comment on what other websites say. If you'd like to see another authoritative source, I'd suggest the Cambridge Dictionary's Grammar page on 'would' - see specifically the section called 'Habitual actions in the past'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir
Is it alright to say: Those who would like to paticipate in the tourmant should give their names to the head master.(Is it correct to use 'would like?') one can use 'would' to express willingness. I am I correct?
Thank you.
Best regards
Andrew international

Hello Andrew international,

Yes, that sentence is correct. You could also say 'want' or 'wish', but 'would like' is fine.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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