- 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.
Would is used to indicate what could potentially happen in the future or when giving advice or when making a request.
- 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