By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated, November 14, 2013)
Will is used to:
- refer to the future: She will be home soon.
- make a promise or an offer: I will come and pick you up after the game.
- refer to what someone would be willing to do: He will eat fish but not red meat.
Would is used:
- as a past tense of will:
- He knew that she would be home soon.
- When they were children, they would get up before sunrise on Christmas morning every year.
- to talk about imagined possibilities:
- She thought she would be fired, but instead, she received a raise.
- That jewelry looks like it would be difficult to make.
- in conditional statements:
- I would invite him to the party if he could refrain from wearing that ugly hat.
- I would have more money if I didn’t buy so many beanie babies.
- I wonder what would happen if I pressed the red button?
- in polite requests:
- Would you mind not throwing cupcakes at the wall?
- Would you be willing to carry my piano up ten flights of stairs?
- I would appreciate it if you would stop feeding your hamburgers to my potbellied pig.
- to express preferences:
- I would rather go to work wearing a Spongebob Squarepants costume than visit the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- British Council. (n.d.). “Will or Would.” LearnEnglish, LearnEnglish.BritishCouncil.org.
- O’Conner, P. T. (1996). Woe Is I, the Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons.