Will and Would


Understanding the correct usage of 'Will' and 'Would' in the English language is essential for effective communication. These two words are highly versatile, functioning as both auxiliary verbs and modal verbs, adding specificity to the verb tenses, moods, and voices in English grammar. This tutorial will provide a detailed look into how to properly use 'Will' and 'Would', including rules and examples to help clarify their applications.

Definition and Functions of ‘Will’ and ‘Would'

'Will' and 'Would' are modal auxiliary verbs. They are used to change the mood of other verbs, but don't bear any meaning on their own.

'Will' is typically employed to indicate future activity, but it can also suggest determination, habit, or consent. 'Would', on the other hand, is the past tense of 'will' for occurrences that have not yet happened. It indicates probability, uncertainty, suggestion, and preference in both past and future scenarios.

Uses of 'Will'

'Will' is primarily used in three ways:

  • To express the future tense: It is used with the primary verb to express an action that will take place in the future. Example: "I will travel to China next month."
  • To express certainty or confidence about present or future actions: Example: "I will achieve my goals."
  • To express willingness or to offer something: Example: "I will bring coffee for everyone."

Uses of 'Would'

'Would' also has three primary uses:

  • To express a hypothetical situation: 'Would' is often used to express a situation that might occur under certain circumstances. Example: "If I won the lottery, I would buy a house."
  • To express a wish or regret: 'Would' is used to show a desire or to express a feeling of regret about an event that has already occurred. Example: "I wish you would stay."
  • To express something that happened regularly in the past: Example: "When I was a kid, we would go fishing every summer."

Understanding the Differences Between 'Will' and 'Would'

Although 'will' and 'would' can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often denote different meanings, which can significantly impact the sentence's overall meaning. Therefore, it's crucial to understand the difference between these two words to ensure proper grammar and avoid confusion.

Firstly, 'will' is a definitive statement, which means it's used when something is certain to happen. In contrast, 'would' indicates a probable action that will happen only if a certain condition is met.

Secondly, 'will' is used to express actions in the future, while 'would' is used to describe actions in a hypothetical scenario or something that used to happen regularly in the past.

Rules for Using 'Will' and 'Would'

'Will' Rules

The following rules apply to the usage of 'will':

  • 'Will' is used with the simple form of the verb to express future actions. Example: "I will call you tomorrow."
  • ‘Will’ can be used to make promises. Example: "I will always love you."
  • In reported speech, 'will' often changes to 'would'. Example: He said, "I will go to the party" becomes "He said he would go to the party."

'Would' Rules

The following rules apply to the usage of 'would':

  • 'Would' is used with the simple form of the verb to express imaginary situations. Example: "I would travel the world if I had more time."
  • 'Would' is used in polite requests and in expressing preferences. Example: "Would you pass the salt, please?" or "I would rather read a book than watch TV."
  • 'Would' is used to talk about habits in the past. Example: "When I was young, I would play soccer every day."


Each auxiliary verb, 'Will' and 'Would', provides specific uses and connotations in English language. 'Will' often depicts future actions, certainty, and willingness, while 'would' projects probability, habits, regret, or hypothetical instances. Being aware of these differences can greatly help in the formation of grammatically correct and well-structured sentences. Just remember, practice is necessary to perfect your usage of these two expressions. The more you write and speak, the better you become.

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