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Language: Old English
Origin: wolde

would

modal verb
     
would S1 W1 negative short form wouldn't
1XX

past intentions/expectations

used to say what someone intended to do or expected to happen:
They said they would meet us at 10.30 at the station.
She said she wouldn't be coming to the library any more.
Arnold knew he would be tired the next day.
It would soon be dark.
2XX

imagined situations

a) used when talking about a possible situation that you imagine or want to happen:
What would you do if you won a million pounds?
I'd be amazed if I got the job.
I wish they'd come and visit us.
If only he would listen to me.
b) used when talking about something that did not happen, or a situation that cannot exist:
Everything would be very different if your father were still alive.
I would have phoned you, but there wasn't time.
Alex would never have found out if you hadn't told him.
What would have happened if I hadn't been here?
3

past habits

used to say that something happened often or regularly in the past:
When we worked in the same office, we would often have coffee together.
On summer evenings they would sit out in the garden.
4

requesting

spoken used to ask someone politely to do something:
Would you shut the window, please?
Would you mind waiting outside?
Would someone please tell me what is going on?
5

offering/inviting

spoken used to offer something to someone or invite them somewhere politely:
Would you like a coffee?
We're going to the theatre this evening. Would you be interested in coming?
6

what somebody wants

spoken used to say that someone wants something or wants to do something
would like/love/prefer
Yes, please, I'd love a coffee.
My parents would like to meet you.
Claudia would have liked to refuse (=wanted to refuse), but she didn't dare.
I'd hate (=I do not want) to disappoint you.
would rather/sooner (=used to say what someone prefers)
I'd rather stay in this evening, if that's all right with you.
7

past purpose

used after 'so that' to show that someone was trying to make something happen or prevent something:
We packed all the books in wooden boxes so that they wouldn't get damaged.
8

would not

a) used to say that someone refused to do something:
He wouldn't give us any money.
b) used to say that something did not happen, even though someone was trying to make it happen:
The door wouldn't open, no matter how hard she pushed.
9

advice

spoken used when giving or asking for advice:
I'd try to get there early if you can.
I would talk to the doctor if I were you.
What would you do if you were in my position?
10XX

I would think/imagine/say

spoken used to give your opinion about something when you are not very sure about it:
I would think you'd be happier in a different school.
'Will it cost a lot?' 'I would imagine so.'
11

typical behaviour

spoken used to say that an action is typical or expected - usually used to show disapproval:
You would go and spoil it, wouldn't you!
She insists that she did nothing wrong, but then she would say that, wouldn't she?
12

would that ...

literary used to express a strong wish or desire [= if only]:
Would that we had seen her before she died.

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