Archive for March 19, 2010

adjective: willing


Today, I have another adjective for you. It’s another one which is commonly misunderstood by many people – “willing”. Many people think that being “willing” to do something means to be happy to do it or that the person wants to do it. However, the true meaning is different. We use this word when we talk about something that we don’t really want to do but, under the right circumstances, we will agree to do. For example:

I’d be willing to eat a cockroach if you gave me $1000, but I wouldn’t be willing to do it for less money than that.

I’m willing to go on business trips for this job, but only if my salary is very high.

I asked my friend if he’d be willing to lend me his car for this weekend, but he said he wasn’t.

A: If you get this job, you might have to move to our branch in London. Would you be willing to do that?

B: Yes, I’m willing to do that.     OR

No, I’m not willing to do that because my family lives here.

As you can see, we always follow the word “willing” with the infinitive form of a verb (to + base form). In the examples, the person doesn’t really want to do the thing (eat a cockroach, go on business trips, etc.) but will agree to do it if the situation is right. If a person is NOT willing to do something, then they will never agree to do it under any circumstances.

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