UNIT 34. Would

Spain-14 grammar
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C


We use would (‘d) / wouldn’t when imagine a situation or action (= we think of something that is not real):

I would be nice to buy a new car, but we can’t afford it.
I’d love to live buy the ocean.
A : Should I tell Chris what happened?
B : No, I wouldn’t say anything. (= I wouldn’t say anything in your situation)

We use world have (done) when we imagine situations or actions in the past (= things that didn’t happen):

They helped us a lot. I don’t know what we would have done without their help.
I didn’t tell Sam what happened. He wouldn’t have been pleased.

Compare would (do) and would have (done):

I would call Sue, but I don’t have her number. (now)
I would have called Sue, but I didn’t have her number. (past)

I’m not going to invite them to the party. They wouldn’t come anyway.
I didn’t invite them to the party. They wouldn’t have come anyway.

We often use would in sentences with if:

I would call Sue if I had her number.
I would have called Sue If I’d had her number.


Compare will(‘ll) and would(‘d):

I’ll stay a little longer. I’ve got plenty of time.
I’d stay a little longer, but I really have to go now. (so I can’t stay longer)

I’ll call Sue. I’ve got her number.
I’d call Sue, but I don’t have her number. (so I can’t call her)

Sometimes would / wouldn’t is the past of will / won’t


Present Past
Tom : I’ll call you on Sunday. -> Tom said he’d call me on Sunday.
Ann : I promise I won’t be late. -> Ann promised that she wouldn’t be late.
Liz : Darn! The car won’t start. -> Liz was annoyed because her car wouldn’t start


Somebody wouldn’t do something = he / she refused to do it:
– I tried to warn him, but he wouldn’t listen to me. (= he refused to listen)
– The car wouldn’t start. (= it “refused” to start)

You can also use would when you talk about things that happened regularly in the past:
– When we were children, we lived by the ocean. In summer, if the weather was nice, we would all get up early and go for a swim.(= we did this regularly)
– Whenever Richard was angry, he would walk out of the room.

With this meaning, would is similar to used to:
– Whenever Richard was angry, he used to walk out of the room.

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