Would is a
modal verb expressing some kind of imaginary
or hypothetical situation. Would is often
contracted to 'd, for example
- I would love to learn Spanish.
- I'd love to learn Spanish.
Offers and Requests
Would is used to make offers and show
willingness. For example:
- Would you like a cookie with your coffee?
- Would you like to go out this evening?
- Would you like some help?
also be used to make requests.
- Would you open the door for me?
This has a slightly commanding tone, perhaps
like a teacher to a student. Could is
- Could you open the door please?
Would is used
to show hypothetical situations. For example:
- I would love to go abroad. (But I'm
not abroad now.)
- You would be a great lawyer. (You're
not a lawyer now - being a lawyer is an imaginary
Would is often
used in the main clause of conditional statements.
- If I had time, I would visit my family.
- I'd go to the beach if it was sunny.
For more information
see the units on Conditionals.
Would is used
as the past form of will, it's used for
future predictions made in the past. For example:
- He'll call you tomorrow. (A future
prediction made now.)
- He said he'd call you tomorrow. (A
prediction made in the past)
- They'll arrive at 7.00. (prediction
- They told me they would arrive at 7.00.
(prediction made in the past)
be used for a past habit, an action that happened
regularly in the past. For example:
- I would often play soccer when I was
- My grandfather would always give us
Note that would
cannot be used for a past state, for example:
would be handsome when he
was younger." Incorrect
- "He was handsome when he was younger."
Would is used only for past habits -
something that happened many times.
For past states you
can use "used to":
- He used to be handsome when he was younger.
For more information see the Unit on "Used