Will and Would
These two modals are often confusing for learners, because they are used in kind of similar occasions. But they're different. To know their differences, click!
Will and Would
In this lesson, we will study two modal verbs: will and would.
'Will' is a modal verb that is used to talk about:
- predicting the future
- expressing plans and decisions
- asking somebody to do something
- inviting somebody to do something
- making offers or suggestions
- ordering somebody to do something
- promising to do something in the future
Talking about or Predicting the Future
We use the verb 'will' to talk about the future; we use it to predict something about the future or express expectations.
Expressing Plans and Decisions
We use 'will' to talk about decisions and plans that we are certain about.
By next year we
The kids are hungry. I
Asking Somebody to Do Something
You can use 'will' to ask somebody to do something for you. It is rather polite and formal.
Inviting Somebody to Do Something
'Will' can be used to invite somebody to do something.
Making Offers or Suggestions
If you want to offer or suggest something, you can use 'will'.
Ordering Somebody to Do Something
'Will' is used for ordering somebody to do something. It is rather informal.
Promising to Do Something in the Future
We use 'will' to make promises or vows.
'Would' is technically the past tense of 'will'. But it has uses in other tenses too. It is used for:
- the past tense of will
- the imaginary future (type 2 and 3 conditionals)
- regular and typical activity in the past
- expressing refusals in the past
- politely offering or making requests
Past Tense of Will
'Would' is used as the past form of 'will' in indirect speech when reporting or quoting what somebody has said or thought.
He said he
His words were: 'I will be there at eight o'clock.'
'Would' is used for talking about the result of an action in the imaginary or unreal future. It is used in conditionals.
If I was rich, I
This sentence is type 2 conditional. In reality, the speaker is not rich and he is imagining a future.
Type 3 conditionals are the only conditionals that is about past. It describes imaginary or hypothetical situations in the past.
When we use type 3 conditionals, we are talking about the result of something that did NOT happen.
Yesterday, the speaker had an exam and today he is thinking about it. Therefore he's using type 3 conditionals. Because he didn't work hard, and he didn't pass the exam and he cannot change the past.
Regular Activities in the Past
'Would' is used to talk about things that often happened in the past. In this case, 'would' is the synonym of 'used to'.
When my grandma visited us, she
'Would' is also used to talk about a regular activity or habit that you think is typical. Note that, in this case, by using 'would' we are expressing annoyance.
It is implied that she is really annoying when she wears that dress.
Expressing Refusals in the Past
You can use 'would' to show that somebody or something refused to do something in the past.
Remember that in this use, we use the negative form of would, i.e. 'wouldn't'.
Politely Offering or Making Requests
'Would' is used for making polite offers or invitations. Typically, 'would' is used with the verb 'like'.
'Would' is used in question form to ask somebody politely to do something.
'Will' and 'would' are commonly used in English. they have many functions that are explained as follows.
|predicting the future||
|expressing plans and decisions||
|asking somebody to do something||
|inviting somebody to do something||
|making offers or suggestions||
|ordering somebody to do something||
|promising to do something in the future||
|the past tense of will||
They didn't say it
|the imaginary future (type 2 and 3 conditionals)||
If I were you I
|regular and typical activity in the past||
|expressing refusals in the past||
|politely offering or making requests||
- Talking about or Predicting the Future
- Expressing Plans and Decisions
- Asking Somebody to Do Something
- Inviting Somebody to Do Something
- Making Offers or Suggestions
- Ordering Somebody to Do Something
- Promising to Do Something in the Future
- Past Tense of Will
- Imaginary Future
- Regular Activities in the Past
- Expressing Refusals in the Past
- Politely Offering or Making Requests