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.





Hi everyone,
I've had a look around and I must say that I find this site extremely useful. It's probably one of the few sites that explain grammar in such detail.
I'd like to ask a question about mixed conditionals. When it says here that conditionals that use "if / what if ..." usually require a past tense in one clause if there's "would" in the other, does that mean that it's also possible to find a tense other than the past tense in the other clause? For example, would it be correct to say such things as: "I wonder what would happen if I pull this lever?"

Hi Filip,
I'm glad you find the site so useful.
You are completely right in your guess. It is possible to use a present form in the if clause. Your example is perfectly correct, too!
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

hiii sir,how r u?
i m anubhav from delhi.i m always confused amongst "would be +ing , might be+ ing and will be+ ing form  ".i m not  able to mk difference between " would be helping,might be helping and will be helping ".
one more problem that what is defference between" might have gone , would have gone and may have gone ".
plz help me by telling me differences.i  will be grateful to u.
i m waiting for ur rply with bated breathe.

Hi anubhavgupta,best according to my understanding the deff b/w would be -ing,wil be ""&might be "" is:1-"w'd be" use 4 a smt that will be happening in the future but passed the time of speech(indirect) e.g Umar said that he 'd be writting by tonight 2-"will be" use 4 smt that assured will be doing in future but not be happening at the time of speaking e.g Umar will be writting tonight 3- "might be" 4 smt not assure(parhap) to be happening e.g Umar might be writting tonight. Ok

thank you for offering this site, i just registered today and really feel i can improve my English through your lessons

hi all
I get 8 out of 10 but I really don't understand difference between will and would about future. would you mind hellping me, please?

My annual leave schedule would be7th July,2012. is the sentence is correct? 

I love this :D
Thank you so much!
Thi site helped me a lot :)

Hey,can you plz help in improving my english.

The exercise does not mention the answer!