Would Uses

Would is the past tense of will in indirect speech.

Direct: The manager said, ‘The shop will be closed on Monday.’
Indirect: The manager said that the shop would be closed on Monday.
Would has the following uses:

Would expresses ideas such as willingness or determination.

  • The doctor said he would perform the operation.
  • He said that he would try his best to help me.
  • They would cut classes in spite of the warning given by the principal.

Habitual actions in the past
Would can be used to talk about a customary or habitual action in the past.

  • The old man would recline in a corner and sleep most of the time.


Both would and would like to can be used to express a wish.

  • I would know what I am supposed to do. (= I would like to know what I am supposed to.)

Would rather

Would rather expresses choice or preference.

  • She would rather die than marry him.
  • I would rather read a novel than watch that absurd movie.

Polite questions
Would is used for asking polite questions.

  • Would you open the window? (This is more polite than ‘Will you open the window?’)
  • Would you, please, call me a taxi?

Impossible or improbable conditions

Would is used in the main clause when the subordinate clause expresses an impossible or improbable condition.

If I could fly like a bird, I would be with you now.