Would vs. Would Have

Many cannot distinguish the difference between 'would' and 'would have.' In this lesson, we will learn their difference and uses.

"Would" vs. "Would Have" in the English grammar

What Is Their Main Difference?

The main difference between 'would' and 'would have' is that 'would' is a modal verb and 'would have' is the past tense of 'would.'

Would

'Would' is a modal verb (also known as modal). It is used to talk about willingness, habits, offers, and requests. It is the past tense of modal verb 'will.' Take a look at the following examples:

He would always be there for her.

My phone wouldn't turn on.

Would Have

'Would have' is the past tense of modal verb 'would.' We only use 'would have' in the third type of conditional sentences. In this type of conditionals, we talk about an imaginary past and what could have happened but never did. In other words, we are imagining a past that never happened.
To create this type of conditionals, we use the following pattern:

  • If + past perfect + would + have + past participle

Check out the following examples:

If I had died, things would have been better.

If she had his number, none of this would have happened.

Negation

We can make negative sentences with 'would' and 'would have.' To do so, we simply add 'not' to 'would' as illustrated below:

  • WouldWould notWouldn't
  • Would haveWould not haveWouldn't have

Take a look at these examples to see the negation process in action:

A speaker would be functional. → A speaker wouldn't be functional.

He would have been here, if he had left on time. → He wouldn't have been here, if he had left on time.

With Conditionals

'Would' can also be used with conditional type 2. In this type of conditionals, we are talking about hypothetical situations in the present or the future. These situations are imaginary and have a low chance of occurrence. For instance:

You would fall if the floor was wet.

He would hurt herself, if she fell.

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