Modal Verbs: Will - Would - Quynh Huong Center for Foreign Language Translation & Education

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5 Nov 2014

Modal Verbs: Will - Would


Used for talking about or predicting the future: You'll be in time if you hurry. How long will you be staying in Paris? By next year all the money will have been spent.
Used for showing that sb is willing to do sth: I'll check this letter for you, if you want. He wouldn't come - he said he was too busy. We said we would keep them.
Used for asking sb to do sth: Will you send this letter for me, please? I asked him if he wouldn't mind calling later.
Used for ordering sb to do sth: You'll do it this minute! Will you be quiet!
Used for stating what you think is probably true: That'll be the doctor now. You'll have had dinner already, I suppose.
Used for stating what is generally true: If it's made of wood it will float. Engines won't run without lubricants.
Used for stating what is true or possible in a particular case: This jar will hold a kilo. The door won't open!
used for talking about habits: She'll listen to music, alone in her room, for hours. He would spend hours on the telephone.
Help Note: If you put extra stress on the word will or would in this meaning, it shows that the habit annoys you: He will comb his hair at the table, even though he knows I don't like it.


Used as the past form of will when reporting what sb has said or thought: He said he would be here at eight o'clock (= His words were: "I will be there at eight o'clock."). She asked if I would help. They told me that they probably wouldn't come.
Used for talking about the result of an event that you imagine: She'd look better with shorter hair. Hurry up! It would be a shame to miss the beginning of the play. She'd be a fool to accept it (= if she accepted).
Used for describing a possible action or event that did not in fact happen, because sth else did not happen first: If I had seen the advertisement in time I would have applied for the job. They would never have met if she hadn't gone to Emma's party.
So that / in order that sb/sth: used for saying why sb does sth: She burned the letters so that her husband would never read them.
Wish (that) sb/sth: used for saying what you want to happen: I wish you'd be quiet for a minute.
Used to show that sb/sth was not willing or refused to do sth: She wouldn't change it, even though she knew it was wrong. My car wouldn't start this morning.
Used to ask sb politely to do sth: Would you mind leaving us alone for a few minutes? Would you open the door for me, please?
Used in polite offers or invitations: Would you like a sandwich? Would you have dinner with me on Friday?
Would like, love, hate, prefer, etc. sth / (sb) to do sth | would rather do sth/sb did sth used to say what you like, love, hate, etc.: I'd be only too glad to help. I'd hate you to think I was criticizing you. I'd rather come with you. I'd rather you came with us.
Would imagine, say, think, etc. (that)... used to give opinions that you are not certain about: Would imagine the job will take about two days. I'd say he was about fifty.
Would... used to give advice: wouldn't have any more to drink, if I were you.
Used for talking about things that often happened in the past. SYN used to: When my parents were away, my grandmother would take care of me. He'd always be the first to offer to help.
Usually (disapproving) used for talking about behaviour that you think are typical: "She said it was your fault. Well, she would say that, wouldn't she? She's never liked me."
Would that... (literary) used to express a strong wish: Would that he had lived to see it.

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