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ESL Learning: Will vs. Would

What is the difference between Will & Would

We continue our discussion of modal verbs with will and would. Will you be able to know the difference between the 2 words by the time you finish reading this blog?

I would say that it is possible!

I will be

Remember that contractions are often used with will and would.

  • I will = I’ll

  • She will = She’ll

  • They would = They’d

  • We would not = We wouldn’t

Will: used to describe when something is certain to happen in the future


  • I will be here tomorrow at 10 am.

  • They will go fishing next weekend.

  • We will surely succeed!

Will: also used for first conditional situations, in which there is real possibility that will not change


  • If it rains while I am outside, my hair will get wet, unless I use my umbrella.

  • If his favorite team wins, he’ll be happy.

  • If she gets paid tomorrow, she will take me to the movie.

Will: to describe a choice that is made quickly, a promise, an offer, or something that is likely to happen


  • There’s a lot of traffic on the highway. I’ll have to get off and take a side street.

  • I promise that I’ll call as soon as I get home.

  • I’ll take you out to eat when I get home.

  • I bet she will be happy to see you!

Note that will can also be used with questions that have a clear outcome, or are asked in a very direct way (such as by a boss to his assistant).

  • Will they be coming tomorrow?

  • Will I have the report by tomorrow morning?

Will also has several different meaning when it is used as a noun, usually related to the ability to choose, a legal document that describes how one’s belongings will be divided after death, or a strong desire.


  • One of the greatest gifts that humans have is our free will, our ability to choose.

  • It is important to create a living will before we die.

  • Her will to succeed was unstoppable.

Will & Would

Would: used to show good manners with questions when making invitations, asking for permission, or exploring a preference


  • Would you like to have dinner with us this weekend?

  • Would I be able to borrow your car for a couple of hours?

  • Would you like eggs or fruit for breakfast?

  • Would you like to stop and get some food before we get there?

Would: to express a preference, invite, or respond to an invitation in a polite way


  • We’d like to eat before we go to the movie.

  • They said that they would like to invite us to their home in Paris!

  • She would rather go to a Thai restaurant than to eat hamburgers.

  • I would love to go, but I’m not available at that time. How about next Saturday at 7 pm?

Would:  with second or third conditional statements, used to describe imaginary situations


  • If she liked rock music, she would enjoy this album.

  • If we ate before, we wouldn’t be hungry now.

  • If they had learned assertive communication skills, they wouldn’t have gotten in a fight.

  • If I hadn’t written this blog, you would not have been able to read it now.

Note that these conditional statements can also be expressed as questions:

  • What would you do if you had a million dollars?

That reminds me of a classic commercial from my childhood: “What would you do for a Klondike bar?”

Would can also be used to answer that question, along with other second and third conditional questions, or to express an imaginary solution.

  • I would use solar power to make fuel if I had a million dollars.

  • If I could, I would end poverty all over the world.

Now that you know the difference between will and would, let’s put your skills to the test!

They __________  definitely be there tomorrow.

  1. will

  2. would

We ___________ like to be able to meet her there, but we may be too busy.

  1. will

  2. would

I’__________ send you an email when I’m ready.

  1. ll

  2. d

We’re really enjoying this movie. We __________ have watched it when it was in the theatre if we knew that it was so funny!

  1. will

  2. would

Remember to visit our Facebook page for more quizzes, games, and resources. And finally, let me invite you: would you like to set up a free class with ETO online? We will be happy to schedule one here.

You can count on us. We’ll be there!

By Joseph

ETO American English teacher


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