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 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.

 

 

Exercise

Section: 

Comments

May I check which of the following is correct?
 
We would be glad to share with you our solution if you are keen.
or
We will be glad to share with you our solution if you are keen.
 
Thanks!

Hello Wicola,
The sentences are both conditional forms and I think the second sounds more natural.  Usually we use a past form when we have 'would' in the result clause (so 'I would be... if you were...').
I think 'keen' is a little unnatural here.  A better option might be 'interested' and I think the best (most natural) way to phrase it, thinking about word order as well, would be:
'We will be glad to share our solutions with you if you are interested.'
I hope that helps you.
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Peter, for your insightful answer. I have learnt a lot about the use of "would" and "will" from this site!

Hey everyone!
Also i would like to ask . Which one of the two is correct!
1. I would like to ask.
2. I will like ask.

Hey everyone!
I would like to get this difference sorted out!
Is it right to say- i wonder how much data i would have used till the midnight! Or i wonder how much dat i will have used till the midnight! Reply asap!

Hi,
You can say either 'I wonder how much data I would have used before midnight' or 'I wonder how much data I will have used by midnight'. They're both grammatically correct, but the first one is wondering about an imaginary situation and the second one is trying to make a prediction about the real world.
I hope that helps - please ask if you have any more questions.
Best wishes,
Adam
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
Could you please explain the meaning of "would" in following examples:
1. "Why would you have a gun?"
2. That wouldn't be the TV on, would it?

Hello rezab,
The first sentence is about a hypothetical situation.  If it was a real situation then we would say 'Why did you have a gun?'  You can find more examples in the section on this page about 'hypotheses'.
The second sentence is a tentative form, using 'would' in the same way as in the examples in the 'phrases with would' section on the page ('I'd think', 'I'd imagine', 'I'd guess').  It means the same as 'That isn't the TV on, is it?' but is more tentative.
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Im always excited studying this. Thank you so much for your time. 

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