Talking about Willingness

In every language, there are ways to express your feelings. Let us learn how to express willingness in English.

"Talking about Willingness" in the English Grammar

How to Talk about Willingness?

There are different ways to talk about willingness in English. Here is a list in which you can find the verbs and modal verbs that are used to talk about willingness.

  • would
  • to be willing to
  • would like
  • want
  • will


Follow the article to learn how to make sentences with these verbs.


To talk about your willingness and unwillingness you can use the modal verb would. When we are unwilling to do something we use the negative form of these modal verbs. In this case, all we have to do is to add the term not to the modal verb would.

The detective would solve the case on her own.

They would start a new job if they had the money.

Remember, 'would' is used in the past tense to refer to a past period of time. Using 'would' to refer to your desires in the past tense is polite as well.


Using will to talk about willingness is not the most common way, because the modal verb will is mostly used to talk about future plans though it can also refer to things you tend to do in the future.

I will study math at university.

I will paint the house for you.

When it comes to expressing willingness the modal verb 'will' is mostly used with the subjective pronoun 'I.'

To Be Willing to Do Something

There is an expression to indicate your desires in English. That would be called 'to be willing to do something'. Check out the examples for more clarification.

She was willing to take care of the children.

They are willing to set the party up for the couple.

Will as a Main Verb

using the verb 'will' to talk about willingness

The verb 'will' as a main verb can be followed by a to-infinitive verb to mean to cause or urge someone to do something or something to happen. Check out the examples.

It is willing him to say "yes."

She seems to will you to swim in the cold water.

Would Like

'Would like' is an expression to show you like something or you are willing to do it. So you have to be capable of diagnosing the tense of sentences with the modal 'would'. They may include the past modal verb 'would', but the meaning is in the present tense.

I would like to become a qualified doctor.

They would like to spend the rest of the holiday on their own.

'Want' (Main Verb)

We can use the main verb 'want' to indicate we are eager or willing to do something. As you know, after the main verb want we should have an infinitive with 'to'.

Shade wants to take the pictures.

Daniel wanted to get married two years ago.


We can use the verb 'will' as a modal verb or also as a main verb to talk about willingness. Check out the table below.

talking about willingness will (modal) will (main verb) would like


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