- Would is used to indicate what could potentially happen in the future or when giving advice or when making a request.
- An example of would is when you might get a good grade if you study.
- An example of would is when you ask someone to pass the carrots.
- An example of would is when you tell someone that your action in rain is to bring an umbrella.
- will: she said she would be finished before six, in those days we would talk for hours on end
- used to express a supposition or condition: he would write if he knew you would answer; I wouldn't do that for anything
- used to make a very polite or formal request: would you please open the window?
Origin of wouldMiddle English wolde ; from Old English past tense of willan, to wish, will
Old Poet. if only; I wish: would that she were here
aux.v.Past tense of will2
- Used to express desire or intent: She said she would meet us at the corner.
- Used to express a wish: Would that we had gone with you!
- Used after a statement of desire, request, or advice: I wish you would stay.
- Used to make a polite request: Would you go with me?
- Used in the main clause of a conditional statement to express a possibility or likelihood: If I had enough money, I would buy a car. We would have gone to the beach, had the weather been good. See Usage Note at if.
- Used to express presumption or expectation: That would be Steve at the door.
- Used to indicate uncertainty: He would seem to be getting better.
- Used to express repeated or habitual action in the past: Every morning we would walk in the garden.
As a modal verb, the subjunctive of will.
- (archaic) Wanted to (+ bare infinitive). [from 9th c.]
- Used to; was or were habitually accustomed to (+ bare infinitive); indicating an action in the past that happened repeatedly or commonly. [from 9th c.]
- Used with bare infinitive to form the "anterior future", indicating a futurity relative to a past time. [from 9th c.]
- (archaic) Used with ellipsis of the infinitive verb, or postponement to a relative clause, in various senses. [from 9th c.]
- Was determined to; loosely, could naturally have been expected to (given the tendencies of someone's character etc.). [from 18th c.]
- Used to give a conditional or potential "softening" to the present; might, might wish. [from 9th c.]
- Used as the auxiliary of the simple conditional modality (with a bare infinitive); indicating an action or state that is conditional on another. [from 9th c.]
- (chiefly archaic) Might wish (+ verb in past subjunctive); often used (with or without that) in the sense of "if only". [from 13th c.]
- Used to impart a sense of hesitancy or uncertainty to the present; might be inclined to. Now sometimes colloquially with ironic effect. [from 15th c.]
- Used interrogatively to express a polite request; are (you) willing to...? [from 15th c.]
- Would you pass the salt, please?
- (chiefly archaic) Might desire; wish (something). [from 15th c.]
- As an auxiliary verb, would is followed by the bare infinitive (without to):
- John said he would have fish for dinner.
- Would is frequently contracted to 'd, especially after a pronoun (as in I'd, you'd, and so on).
- Indicating a wish, would takes a clause in the past subjunctive (irrealis) mood; this clause may or not be introduced with that. Most commonly in modern usage, it is followed by the adverb rather, as in I would rather that he go now. A call to a deity or other higher power is sometimes interposed after would and before the subjunctive clause, as in Would to God that [...];
Variant of will
- the power of making a reasoned choice or decision or of controlling one's own actions: a man of weak will
- strong and fixed purpose; determination: where there's a will there's a way
- energy and enthusiasm: to work with a will
- disposition or attitude toward others: a man of good will
- the particular desire, purpose, pleasure, choice, etc. of a certain person or group: what is your will?
- a compelling command or decree: the will of the people
- the legal statement of a person's wishes concerning the disposal of his or her property after death
- the document containing this
Origin of willMiddle English wille ; from Old English willa, akin to German wille, willen ; from Indo-European base an unverified form wel-, to wish, choose from source Classical Latin velle, to wish, voluptas, pleasure
- to have as the object of one's will; desire; want: to will another's happiness, to will to survive
- to control or influence by the power of the will: to will oneself into an action, to will others into submission
- Law to bequeath by a will
Origin of willME willien < OE willian < willan, to desire: see will
- to exert one's will: to succeed by willing
- to wish, desire, prefer, or choose: to do as one wills
when one wishes; at one's discretion