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Unit 45: - Would

Would

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?

Would can 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 less assertive.
- Could you open the door please?

Hypothetical Situations

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 situation)

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.

Will - Past form

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 made now)
- They told me they would arrive at 7.00. (prediction made in the past)

Past Habit

Would can be used for a past habit, an action that happened regularly in the past. For example:
- I would often play soccer when I was young.
- My grandfather would always give us candy.

Note that would cannot be used for a past state, for example:
- "He would be handsome when he was younger." Incorrect
- "He was handsome when he was younger." Correct
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 to".

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