What Is Their Main Difference?
Modal Verb Would
The modal verb 'would' is used to give additional information about the main verb. These information includes talking about willingness, habits, offers, and requests. 'Would' is the past tense of the modal verb 'will.' Have a look:
Modal Verb Can
Making Offers and Requests
We can use 'would' and 'can' to make offers.
The combination of 'would' with 'like' as the main verb in the interrogative form is used to make polite offers:
'Can' is used in affirmative and interrogative sentences to make offers. 'Can' is considered less formal than 'would:'
We use 'can' and 'would' to request something.
- 'Would' is used interrogative form to create indirect questions:
- 'Can' is used in interrogative form to ask someone to do something. 'Can' is informal in this context:
Negation and Question
We can use 'would' and 'can' to create negative sentences and questions.
To make negative sentences, we add 'not' to the modal verbs 'would' and 'can' as illustrated below:
- Can → Cannot → Can't
- Would → Would not → Wouldn't
- To create yes/no questions, we simply invert the modal verbs 'can' and 'would:'
Talking about Abilities
We use 'can' to show that one is able to do an action. Have a look:
To talk about
Talking about Predictions
We use 'would' to predict the future even though 'would' is the past tense of 'will.' What we predict with 'would' is something we thought will occur in the future but perhaps it still hasn't occurred.
We believe the condition
Conditionals Type 1
We use 'can' in conditional type one. In this type, we talk about real situations and their results. These situations have a high chance of occurrence. Have a look:
Conditionals Type 2
We use 'would' in the second type of conditionals. In this type of conditionals, we are talking about hypothetical situations in the present or future that often have a low chance of occurrence. For instance:
If I ever have a son, I
If I win a lottery, I
Conditionals Type 3
We use 'would' in conditional type three. In this type, we are talking about an imaginary past. In other words, we are imagining a past that could have happened but never did. For example: