When to use will
When you learn English, you will find will and would are the most frequently used English words.
Let’s start with when to use will. We use will to talk about the future:
- They will be late.
- I'll call you later.
We use will to talk about what people want to do or are willing to do:
- I will take you to my favorite cafe.
- I'll have a cup of tea, thank you.
We use will to make promises, offers, and requests:
- Promises: No problem. I'll give you a ride home.
- Offers: I'll help you with your homework if you want.
- Requests: Will you give me a ride, please?
When to use would
Now let’s look at when to use would. Would is the past tense form of will. We use would to describe past beliefs about the future:
- I thought they would be late.
- When I was a kid, I told my dad that I would become a musician.
We use would talk about what people wanted to do or were willing to do, and typical behavior in the past:
- When I was at school, I wouldn't do homework.
- My parents wouldn't lend me the car, so I had to take the bus.
- When I lived in Melbourne, I would go to the bar every weekend.
We use would make requests and ask for permission:
- Would you buy me a cup of coffee?
- Would you mind if I close the window?
Will versus would
We have learned when to use will and when to use would. Now it’s time to take a look at the difference between a will and a would.
We use will to talk about what we think will happen in the present or future, and we use would talk about imaginary situations.
- I will give you a call later. (It’s very likely to happen)
- I would ask her out on a date if I had her number. (But I don’t have her number)
We can use will or would to make requests. However, using would is more polite.
- Will you give me a ride?
- Would you give me a ride? (sounds more polite)
We also use Will you have … ? or Would you like … ? to make offers.
- Will you have some tea?
- Would you like some tea?
We also use would in reported speech to talk about what someone said without repeating their exact words. First, let me show you an example of direct speech:
- “I will be late for the meeting,” Jeff said.
We can change this to a reported speech by changing will to would.
- Jeff said (that) he would be late for the meeting.
Examples of will and would
As I promised you, now let’s look at more examples of will and would.
Examples of Will:
- Talk about the future
We will go to the cinema this weekend.
I will turn thirty this year.
This is my new book. I hope you will like it.
I think it will rain later.
- Make promises
I will drive you home.
I will do my best to help you.
Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.
Examples of Would:
- Talk about the future in the past
I thought it would rain, so I brought an umbrella.
Tom said he would call me, but he didn't.
- Typical behavior in the past
We would go to the beach every summer when we were kids.
When I was young, I would fight with my brother.
- Make polite requests or offers
Would you open the window, please?
Would you like a piece of cake?
- Order food and drinks:
I'd like a medium latte.
Sounds good. Would you like anything else?
Yes, I'd a sandwich. Thanks.
- Imaginary situations:
I would travel around the world if I won the lottery.
If I were you, I would take the job.
Examples of Will in direct speech and Would in reported speech:
- Direct: Jane said, “You will love this movie!”
- Reported: Jane said I would love this movie.
- Direct: The weather reporter said, “It will be rainy and cold until Sunday.”
- Reported: The weather report said that it would be rainy and cold until Sunday.
Want to do more exercises to distinguish between will and would. You could find an online English tutor. A professional private tutor helps you enhance your English skills in the field of vocabulary, grammar, speaking, reading, writing, and so on.
I believe you now know how to use will and would. Certainly, it’s a common mistake in English for beginners. Now, it's your turn. Make a sentence using will or would. Would you share it with us?