Archive for August 9, 2010

the difference between words: will and would

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Recently one of my readers sent me an email asking about the difference between “will” and “would”, so that’s what I’d like to write about today. When we use “will”, it indicates an intention to do something in a situation that is really possible or likely to happen. However, when we use “would”, it indicates an intention to do something in a situation that is only in our imagination or that is very unlikely to happen. For example:

If the weather is nice tomorrow, I will go to the beach.

If it wasn’t raining right now, I would go to the beach.

If I win some money at the casino, I will buy a new stereo.

If I won the lottery, I would buy a new car.

If I get sick this winter, I will go see a doctor.

If I were sick now, I would go see a doctor.

If I get a car this year, I will drive to my hometown.

If I had a car, I would drive to my hometown.

So, as you can see, the pattern with “will” is:

if + present tense verb + will

And the pattern with “would” is:

if + past tense verb + would

It’s important to note that when we use the past tense with “would”, we are NOT talking about the past. We use the past tense only because the grammar demands it.

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