The differences between WILL and WOULD. The easiest way to identify the differences between these two modal verbs is by looking at the rules below.
Thanks to Dhanesh S for requesting this lesson.
When to use WILL:
Rule #1: To talk about future ‘facts’ (remember it may only be a fact from the speaker’s point of view)
- The sun will rise at 6.23am tomorrow.
- I will always remember my first day at school.
Rule #2: To create first conditional sentences
- If you eat too much, you will get fat.
- You will pass the exam if you study hard all week.
Rule #3: To ask people to do something (more informal/less polite than using ‘would’)
- Will you pass me the a pencil?
- Will you tell your father that dinner’s ready?
Rule #4: To express a present belief
- John left for the airport hours ago. He will be flying by now.
When to use WOULD:
Rule #1: As a past tense of WILL for a future fact
- I hope he will pass his exam / I hoped he would pass his exam.
Rule #2: To talk about an imaginary / unreal situation.
- She would look good with a better haircut.
Rule #3: To create second and third conditional sentences
- He would look good if he had a better haircut. (second conditonal)
- He would have passed his test if had studied, but he didn’t put the work in. (third conditional)
Rule #4: To talk about past habits
- When I was a kid, I would spend every weekend playing football with my friends.
- I would sit at the kitchen table to do my homework every night.
Rule #5: To make polite requests and offers
- Would you like a cup of coffee?
- It’s a little cold – would you mind closing the window?
Rule #6: In reported speech
- Jane: I won’t be going to the party. > Jane said she wouldn’t be going to the party.
Rule #7: To estimate something
- I would guess he’s around 50? He’s not old, but he has some grey hair.
- I would say it’s about 20 kilometres from here, more or less.
Rule #8: To talk about something that refused to happen in the past
- I tried to get in but the door wouldn’t open.
- He had terrible toothache but he wouldn’t go to the dentist.