You are here

'will' and 'would'

Level: beginner

We use will:

  • to express beliefs about the present or future
  • to talk about what people want to do or are willing to do
  • to make promises, offers and requests.

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 (when we imagine something)
  • for politeness.

Beliefs

We use will to express beliefs about the present or future:

John will be in his office. (present)
We'll be late. (future)
We will have to take the train. (future)

We use would as the past of will, to describe past beliefs about the future:

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

Willingness

We use will:

  • 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.

  • to talk about typical behaviour, things that we often do (because we are willing to do them):

We always spend our holidays at our favourite hotel at the seaside. We'll get up early every morning and have a quick breakfast then we'll go across the road to the beach.

We use would as the past tense of will:

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

We had a terrible night. The baby wouldn't go to sleep.
Dad wouldn't lend me the car, so we had to take the train.

  • to talk about typical behaviour, things that we often did (because we were willing to do them) in the past:

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

Promises, offers and requests

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

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

We use Will you … ? or Would you … ? to make requests:

Will you carry this for me, please?
Would you please be quiet?

will and would 1

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTYzNzQ=

will and would 2

MultipleChoice_MTYzNzU=

will and would 3

GapFillTyping_MTYzOTk=

Level: intermediate

Hypotheses and conditionals

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

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 make hypotheses:

  • when we imagine a situation:

It would be very expensive to stay in a hotel.
I would give you a lift, but my wife has the car today.

  • in conditionals:

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 also 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.

will and would: hypotheses and conditionals

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTY0MDA=

See also: Verbs in time clauses and conditionals

Level: beginner

Expressions with would

We use:

  • 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 until tomorrow?

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

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

  • 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 the new one, not the old one.
I don't want another drink. I'd rather go home.

  • 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.

Expressions with would 1

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTY0MDE=

Expressions with would 2

GapFillTyping_MTY0MDI=

Comments

I would think that this site is perfect for English learners! ;)

Hello Rafaela1,

Thanks!

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone. I looked for previous pages/comments of the use "would" here. But why there's no. I just finded 1-11 pages. Please help me, I want to read the anawers one by one so that I can understand.

Hello Dwishiren,

I see what you mean, and I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

I'm afraid this is something that our technical team will have to look into and it could take some time. But once I have any news, I'll respond here.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Yesterday,I was reading an article : "8 ways to read someone's body language" in which one of 8 ways was "stepping-back is not a good sign."
Here It said:
When you are talking to a person and if the listener swiftly steps back, then that generally means that what you said at that point has made them uncomfortable, or they are not interested in that topic , and they want to come out of the situation. This behaviour highly demotivates the speaker; they feel rejected sometimes.
If the speaker experience this conduct they mostly would not open up themselves in front of that particular person in the future.

Could you please tell me what are the grammatical mistakes in it?

Thank You!

Hello Sandeep Gupta,

Thanks for your contribution, but I'm afraid we don't provide the service of correcting our users' writing.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

"If the speaker experience this conduct they mostly would not open up themselves in front of that particular person in the future."
In this sentence, I am confused that which structure of conditional sentence has been used here.
If it is condition 1 then can i use "will" in place of "would"?
Sir,please! Clear my doubt.

Hello again Sandeep Gupta,

The sentence has some errors in it. You cannot say 'speaker experience'. 'Speakers experience', 'speaker experiences', 'speakers experienced', 'speaker experienced' are all possible.

'Open up themselves' is also incorrect. The pronoun should be before the particle: 'open themselves up'.

 

I don't know the source of the sentence and whether the errors are in the original or are the result of errors in transcription, but I can't really comment on the grammar of a sentence which is ungrammatical!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

In this sentence "Being quiet and showing appropriate gestures in a discussion would give you enough time to listen to one's views and all with great attention."
My question is: how has "would" been used here ?

Hello Sandeep Gupta,

Would is used to show that the situation is hypothetical. The person is not talking about a person who is actually using gestures or who is planning to do so, but rather speaking in hypothetical terms, imagining such a situation.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Pages