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English Grammar: The Word 'WOULD'
In English, the word, 'would' has many common yet variable usages. In this lesson, we discuss some of the ways that we use, 'would' in English.
Past Tense in Reported Speech
'Would' and 'wouldn't' are the past tense of 'will' and 'won't'. When converting direct speech into reported speech, 'would' is used to replace 'will' or 'won't'.
Andrew: 'I will be late. (direct speech)
Andrew said that he would be late. (reported speech)
Practice converting direct speech with 'will' into reported speech.
'Would' is used again for unreal or hypothetical situations in the 2nd and 3rd conditionals:
If I won the lottery, I would travel the world.
If I had worked harder, I would have passed the test.
Sometimes, the conditional forms are reduced:
She would like to be professional footballer.
I would definitely visit New York!
We would go, but we are too busy.
Practice using the conditional forms of using 'would' with a partner.
To Refuse: Would Not
'Wouldn't' (would not) is used to show that someone refused to do something in the past.
I asked him if I could borrow his car, but he wouldn't lend it to me.
She wouldn't come to the store with me so I had to carry the bags myself.
Talk and ask a partner about things that were refused in past situations.
A Polite & Formal Form of 'Want'
'Would' can be combined with 'like' to form 'would like'. 'Would like' is used in formal settings or as a polite form of 'want'. It is used for requests and to ask about desires and wants.
Would you like something to drink?
Yes, I would like a beer, please.
I would love to visit Peru one day!
Describe some of your wants and ask about about their wants using 'would like'.
Repeated Past Action
'Would' can be used to talk about actions that repeated in the past. Its meaning is similar to 'used to'.
When I was young I would do my homework every evening.
In the summer we would always go camping.
Talk about some things that you would do in the past. Ask a partner about some things they would do. Talk and ask about your family, friends, etc.