It is not uncommon to see people, especially non-native English speakers, use the verb ‘Would’ for a future tense they are ‘certain’ about. You hear statements like: I would see you tomorrow, I would call you after my lectures, etc. Conversely, the appropriate use of “would” in this instance is for expressing thoughts on uncertain things, and not on what you want to do
To understand the uses of “would”, first, we have to understand the different circumstances that require the use of “would”. Situation is the key, as it determines whether to use “will” or “would”. The word “will” is mainly used to express plans and things that we are certain about.
This post is to help you understand the various instances that require the use of “would”:
- “Would” is the past form of “will”.
- I told him I would see him today
- We agreed that we would be available for the meeting
2. To describe an imaginary situation
- She would look more attractive is she had pointed nose
- I would be the richest person in the world if my account is credited with $1 Trillion.
These are imaginary situations. She doesn’t have pointed nose, and the $1 Trillion is only imagined. You shouldn’t “will” for situations you can only imagined, but not certain about
3. Use “would” for conditional sentences
- If I had magic powers, I would cure the world of COVID-19
- I would never had met my girlfriend, if I hadn’t attended your birthday party
4. To express modest request or proposal
- Would you please come in?
- Would you like to have some snacks?
Although, you could use “will” to form request and proposal in an informal setting, “would” is more appropriate in a formal setting.
5. In reported speech
- She told me that she would come to see you after class
- Your brother said he would leave office very late today
6. To express liking, heartfelt and preference for something
- I would be glad to help.
- I would love to travel to Canada.
7. After the word “wish”
- I wish she would reciprocate my love for her.
- I wish you would be quiet for a minute.
- To give an opinion on uncertain things
- I think it would take about 30 minutes to read the entire passage
- I would say she’s about 18 years old