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How to Use WOULD in English

Published by My Lingua Academy on

When it comes to the use of “would” remember that it is a modal and auxiliary verb and the past form of “will“.
She said that she would phone me later.
Paul promised that he wouldn’t be late.


Like other modal verbs, would always goes with a bare infinitive.
As usual, I would go shopping after breakfast.
I would have a cake, please.


Would is often shortened to ‘d, especially in spoken English.

I would like to help you but I’m busy.
I‘d like to help you…

Try not to confuse “would” with “had” because it’s shortened version is also ‘d
I had never been there before.
I’d never been there before.

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We can use would in several ways in English.

WOULD for making polite offers and requests

We can use would to make offers and requests.
Would you like some coffee?
I would (I’d) like some tea, please.
Would you please give me a hand?
Would you mind closing the window?
I would like my steak well-done.

How to use “would”


We can also use would if we want to be less direct, especially with verbs such as say, recommend, advise, suggest, etc.
I‘d recommend you try to memorize collocations and phrasal verbs, not only words.
I‘d say the blue dress suits you better than the green one.


or with preference phrases such as would rather (than)
I‘d rather have a nap than go for a walk.
Would you rather go on holiday to the mountains than to the seaside?

WOULD for conditionals


We use would for the second and third conditionals, e.g. for imaginary and unreal situations.
If I had a car I would drive to work.
I wouldn’t do that if I were you.
I would have called you if I’d had your number.
If I had known you were in a hospital, I would have visited you.

WOULD for regular past action


We can use would to talk about actions (but not states) which were happening regularly in the past.
When we were little, our grandma would read us stories before bed.
Our ex-neighbour would often invite us for a picnic.
When we were young, we would dance all night.

Remember that you can use would for actions only and used to for both actions and states.

How to use “would”

Click the link to visit the post about used to

WOULD after question words


We normally use would in questions after a question word.
Where would you like to go?
Who would you like to go with
When would you like to start learning to drive?
How would you like to pay?

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4 Comments

fce · 7 Feb 2021 at 8:21 am

Great explanation. I’d also mention about past tenses after ‘I’d rather’ like -I’d rather you didn’t play computer all day long.-.
Thanks for short summary.

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