Modal Verbs – Would
grammar form: modal + base verb
A modal verb is a helping, or auxiliary verb.
There are many auxiliary verbs, but there are only 9 modal verbs.
The modal verbs are always followed by a base verb.
The modal verbs are:
can, could, will, would, may, might, must, shall & should
Most of the modals have several definitions. Here are some of the common meanings for the modal WOULD.
Definition #1 (would): for an imagined event in the future
example (in a conditional sentence):
If I won a million dollars, I would travel.
See the STORY Confessions of a Whiner example of WOULD: Josh would get all the way to the fishing shack before he noticed that I was not behind him.
Definition #2 (would): for desires for the future
1. I would like to travel.
2. I would like to improve my life.
Definition #3 (would): for willingness in the future
I can’t believe you went bungee jumping! I would never do that!
Definition #4 (would): for polite requests
1. I would like some coffee. (STATEMENT)
2. Would you like more coffee? (YES/NO QUESTION)
3. What would you like to drink? (INFORMATION QUESTION)
Definition #5 (would): the PAST of WILL
I. for REFUSALS
1. They wouldn’t refund her money.
2. I wanted to go on vacation last year, but my boss wouldn’t give me time off work
II. for REPORTED SPEECH
1. She said she would never speak to me again.
2. He said that he would be here at six o’clock. I wonder where he is.
Definition #6 (would): for PAST typical behavior/actions
1. When I was a child, my mother would put coins in my birthay cakes.
2. We used to go on a summer vacation every year. We would often go camping.
Modal Verb Help
Would is often contracted, especially in spoken English. For example:
– I would = I’d
– You would = You’d
– He would = He’d
– She would = She’d
– They would = They’d
– We would = We’d