Grammar: Modal Verbs – Would

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A piece of wood

“Would” (pronounced “wood”) is most commonly used to create conditional verb forms. It also serves as the past form of the modal verb “will.”

Additionally, “would” can indicate repetition in the past (although “used to” is a more commonly-used structure).

For more information on the grammar behind the modal verb “would,” visit the following tutorials: Conditional Tutorial, Future in the Past, Would Have or Will Have? and Would Always.

 

Examples:

  • If he were an actor, he would be in adventure movies. conditional
  • I knew that she would be very successful in her career. past of “will”
  • When they first met, they would always have picnics on the beach. repetition


Using “Would” in Present, Past, and Future

Modal Use

Positive Forms

Used in Past, Present and Future

Negative Forms
Used in Past, Present and Future
In Conditional Structures

1. If I were president, I would cut the cost of education.

2. If I had been president, I would have cut the cost of education.

3. If I were elected president next year, I would cut the cost of education.

 

1. If I were president, I would not raise taxes.

2. If I had been president, I would not have raised taxes.

3. If I were president, I would not sign the tax increase next week.

Would as
Past of “will”

I said I would help you.

He told me he would be here before 8:00.

 

I said I wouldn’t help you.

He told me he would not be here before 8:00.

Would (or Used To)
Describing Repetition in Past

When I was a kid, I would always go to the beach.

When he was young, he would always do his homework.

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t go into the water by myself.

When he got older, he would never do his homework.

 

EXERCISES AND RELATED TOPICS

 

Original material from English Page