- 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.
- pt. of 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 any amount of money
- used to make a very polite or formal request: would you please open the window?
Origin of wouldMiddle English wolde from OE, past tense of willan, to wish, will
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. This sense is archaic ( “I would you were so honest a man!” —William Shakespeare) except in contexts with an implicit first person singular subject and followed by a clause beginning with that : Would that it stop snowing!
- 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.
Usage Note: If the president would have informed his advisers, the scandal could have been avoided. If the economy didn't improve, the governor never would've won the election. You won't find sentences like these in well-edited prose. What you will find is: If the president had informed his advisers, the scandal could have been avoided. If the economy hadn't improved, the governor never would have won the election. Although constructions using would have instead of had or did plus an infinitive instead of had and a past participle are common in informal speech ( If you would've told me you were leaving, I could've gone with you ), they are generally not considered correct in formal writing. But why not? Many conditional ( if…then ) constructions seem bewilderingly picky about which tenses, moods, and auxiliaries may go into them, particularly those that have to do with a counterfactual or make-believe world—one that the writer thinks is likely to be false but whose implications are worth exploring. But the grammatical requirements are actually quite straightforward: 1. The if -clause must have a verb in the conditional subjunctive mood (which many linguists call by the Latin name irrealis to distinguish it from the ordinary English subjunctive). When referring to situations in the present, this mood is identical to the preterite or past-tense form ( If you danced better… ) except for the verb be, whose irrealis is were rather than was ( If he were rich… ). When a writer wants to refer to a situation that hypothetically could have occurred in the past, a more remote past form must be used—the past tense of the preterite, also known as the past perfect or the pluperfect ( If you had danced better…; If he had been rich… ). 2. The then -clause must contain would or a similar modal auxiliary such as could, should, or might. A large percentage of the Usage Panel disapproves of past counterfactual constructions using did rather than had : in 2011, 74 percent disliked If I didn't have my seatbelt on, I'd be dead, and 89 percent found it unacceptable to say If he didn't come to America, our team never would have won the championship. Panelists found forms using would have somewhat more acceptable: the sentence If she would have only listened to me, this would never have happened was acceptable to 46 percent of the Panel. This represents quite a change from the 1995 ballot, in which the same sentence garnered an acceptability percentage of just 14 percent.
- (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 [...];