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Would is a modal verb and like all others of its kind is followed by the infinitive without 'to' (Note: we
consider that the modal verb 'ought to' is a single item, as the word 'ought' does not exist without the word
Would is often contracted in spoken English to 'd.

I'd like to come with you, but I'm busy.

He'd sit all day watching the people go by.

Would is a very flexible word and has many uses.

In Grammar definitions would is briefly mentioned under conditionals and reported speech.
In our Grammar Archive see the use of used to and would for expressing habitual actions in the past.
Apart from this, would is also used in the following ways:
Would is used in a number of different forms of the conditional:
2nd conditional
If I went to China, I would visit the Great Wall.
3rd conditional
If she had studied harder, she would have passed her exams.
Mixed conditional
If he hadn't missed the bus, he would be here now.
Try the following exercises on different conditional forms:
Reported (indirect) speech
In indirect speech 'will' is reported as would:
I will be there! She said she would be there.
I won't be able to come with you on Saturday. He said he wouldn't be able to come with us on
Will you do me a favour? She asked if I would do her a favour.
Try the following exercise on reported speech:
Requests and offers
You can use would to ask people to do things:
Would you do me a favour?

Would you mind opening the window?

To offer or invite you can use Would you like ?

Would you like me to get you something while I'm at the shop?
Would you like to come with me to the cinema?
Future in the past
This structure is used to "express the idea that in the past you thought something would happen in the
When she was a teenager she knew she would be rich and famous.
It was at that moment that I knew they would win the game.
Common expressions
Would + like:
This structure is used to talk about things that we want or don't want to do:
Yes, I'd like to go with you.
I wouldn't like to be outside now.
Would rather
This structure is used to express preferences:
What would you rather do: go to the cinema or stay at home for the evening?
I'd rather be poor and happy than rich and sad.


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