Meaning of would in English:


Pronunciation /wʊd/

Translate would into Spanish

modal verbwould

  • 1

    past of will, in various senses

    ‘he said he would be away for a couple of days’
    • ‘she wouldn't leave’
    • ‘the windows would not close’
    • ‘It was in October last year that the club first heard that changes would be made to the lecture theatre.’
    • ‘Caroline never met her stepfather and her mother would never hear her voice again.’
    • ‘Here his followers would gather in the mornings and afternoons for religious services.’
    • ‘The gang would then force a window to get them, or, if the door was unlocked, simply walk in.’
    • ‘Florence was shocked when she heard her name would appear in the medieval video.’
    • ‘Within minutes, a small crowd would gather and most of them knew of the village.’
    • ‘Thatch would have been gathered from reeds and rushes on the shore and used for the roof of the main castle.’
    • ‘When last week I heard Morris would be in London for a few days I decided to collar her.’
    • ‘Fears had been expressed that the historic building would be closed permanently.’
    • ‘Settle parish churchyard was filling up rapidly and would have to close in two years.’
    • ‘He left a large gap around the cupboard door hinges and three unit drawers would not close.’
    • ‘We were always a close family, we would talk to each other, and we pretty much got along.’
    • ‘Moorby said he would be keeping a close eye on player availability right up until Easter.’
    • ‘He added that the bell would be first heard in public as part of the Keighley Day events.’
    • ‘The first night I was in a room on my own with a window that would only open three or four inches.’
    • ‘However, he confirmed that officers would keep a close eye on the cemetery in the future.’
    • ‘The mayor said he would be keeping a close eye on the building to try and ensure the problem did not arise again.’
    • ‘In July this year the bank said it would close the business having failed to find a buyer.’
    • ‘A workman had fitted locks to some windows, but ran out of locks and said he would come back later.’
    • ‘So she decided she would climb out of the window onto a low roof and get down to the yard that way.’
  • 2(expressing the conditional mood) indicating the consequence of an imagined event or situation.

    ‘he would lose his job if he were identified’
    • ‘Had Frank Furedi been pondering how to handle the situation he would not have had to look far for advice.’
    • ‘And he said if he was faced with the same situation he would again break the speed limit.’
    • ‘Huntley said that should such a situation arise, he would report it to a senior member of staff.’
    • ‘Mr Haslam said he could not comment on what would happen to the hotel if the application was turned down.’
    • ‘If it wasn't a private firm, we would probably be hearing an awful lot more about it.’
    • ‘It would be marvellous to hear his reactions on other fuss and bother while he's in the mood.’
    • ‘If they had any musical knowledge they would be able to hear our voices are good.’
    • ‘If you heard a noise in the dark of night, would you know where to find your torch or a candle?’
    • ‘Anything that acts as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour would be used if we needed it.’
    • ‘I'm starting to wonder if my writing is really as unclear as my comments would suggest.’
    • ‘How tame this behaviour would seem if they were allowed to really have some fun!’
    • ‘They would not stop if the police shouted at them because they simply would not hear.’
    • ‘She would suffer if she was sent to prison and would have to close her business, leading to the loss of two jobs.’
    • ‘If it closed, its customers would have absolutely no qualms about going elsewhere.’
    • ‘Later that year Mr Craig put the club on the market and said it would close if a buyer was not found quickly.’
    • ‘Players and staff were sacked, and for weeks it looked as though Dundee would close.’
    • ‘If a child were to be killed outside a school, would we talk about closing the school?’
    • ‘If she were to gossip, it would be with the closest of friends, not when there was a camera in her face.’
    • ‘He quoted a friend who offered a woman a free pair of curtains if she would clean her dirty front window.’
    • ‘It occurred to me that if this were a business it would most likely have closed long ago.’
    1. 2.1I wouldUsed to give advice.
      ‘I wouldn't drink that if I were you’
      • ‘Anyway, you can be sure that if I had to spend a week in an hotel, I wouldn't waste it by staying awake.’
      • ‘If I were you I'd lock the door.’
      • ‘This may reflect in a willingness to pay higher prices, although I wouldn't bet on it.’
      • ‘You can go down that channel if you're mad enough, but I wouldn't do it if I were you.’
      • ‘In fact, I wouldn't recommend taking the advice of a tied agent under any circumstances.’
      • ‘I think it will pick up stuff other than country and western, but I wouldn't advise it!’
      • ‘If at all possible I would urge a newcomer to pike fishing to ask an experienced angler if they could tag along for a session or two.’
      • ‘If I were you I would get out of here I soon as I could.’
      • ‘I would request he moves the aerial so that it does not encroach your property.’
  • 3Expressing a desire or inclination.

    ‘I would love to work in America’
    • ‘would you like some water?’
    • ‘Malcolm Morley, who has worked at the hotel for three years, would love to make Iona his home.’
    • ‘We would be delighted to hear from any other people who could support us in some way.’
    • ‘As someone who kept a daily diary all her life, she would have loved blogging.’
    • ‘He said he would be glad to write me a recommendation.’
    • ‘I think instead of arriving at Tortuga by sea, I'd rather arrive by air.’
    • ‘Although this is not the outcome that we would have desired, at least it is now at an end.’
    • ‘Would you like a glass of water?’
    • ‘I would like the windows replaced with the ones we actually thought we were getting.’
    • ‘I tell myself I would rather be fat and happy then thin and miserable, but the fact is, I am fat and miserable.’
    • ‘It's not the sort of song you hear everyday, nor would want to, but it stands out like a gem in an evening of gems.’
    • ‘I would love to see a performance of that opera, but there's none in the next year.’
    • ‘I was just about to make breakfast, would you like some?’
    • ‘Although he says he would love to be a chef, he will never be able to hold down a job.’
    • ‘She would love to build on this success and make a career of dancing at least in the short term.’
    • ‘Whether it is for himself or for his country, he would dearly love a Commonwealth Games medal.’
    • ‘The pair said they would love to go into showbusiness or work in television in the future.’
    • ‘Believe me, it's a club most managers outside the very top ones would love to manage.’
    • ‘He mentions his years at Arbroath, his hometown club, and how one day he would love to rejoin them.’
    • ‘I sincerely admire your work and would love nothing better than to work on something like this!’
    • ‘They would also like to hear from anyone who saw the stolen Maestro earlier in the evening.’
    • ‘I said to her that I didn't understand anybody who would want to live like she was.’
  • 4Expressing a polite request.

    ‘would you pour the wine, please?’
    • ‘Would you please turn around?’
    • ‘Would you mind clarifying your comment, Alison?’
    • ‘Ruth, would you go with me to London?’
    1. 4.1Expressing willingness or consent.
      ‘who would live here?’
      • ‘The spokesman would not comment on his condition or if and when he will return home.’
      • ‘He avoids it, on the record anyway, and there's no way he would comment on other programmes.’
      • ‘There was no forced entry to the property, but police would not comment further.’
      • ‘Neither the airport not the airline would comment on the cause of the incident.’
      • ‘When approached this week about the ward closure, he would make no further comment.’
      • ‘Her mother noticed a change in her behaviour because she would not leave the family home and she cried a lot.’
      • ‘He asked me to turn it off but I wouldn't, then asked me to go to the office but I listened to the rest of the game first.’
      • ‘At primary school we had processed peas, which I wouldn't eat because I got frozen peas at home.’
      • ‘For years, nobody would go there, as warnings were passed down from one generation of Oxford cavers to another.’
  • 5Expressing a conjecture, opinion, or hope.

    ‘I would imagine that they're home by now’
    • ‘I guess some people would consider it brutal’
    • ‘I would have to agree’
    • ‘There are only a couple of events that we would call sports, the rest are just bizarre battles.’
    • ‘Last week's piece on software piracy drew more than a few comments, as you would expect.’
    • ‘We would hope to address both of these problems by having a dedicated service.’
    • ‘I would describe the event as a convivial talk with a rather short period for questions.’
    • ‘I hope some of you can make it to one of our performances and it would be brilliant to hear some feedback!’
    • ‘The input from the communities has not been as strong as one would have hoped.’
    • ‘To be honest I wouldn't really consider Eldon Hole a caving trip, although it is a fine pitch.’
    • ‘It would be lovely to hear the boy's chatter and not feel left out when they are speaking together.’
    • ‘I get involved in spite of myself and, to be honest, I wouldn't have it any other way.’
    • ‘There are rumours this could be the last shuttle flight, and I wouldn't be surprised.’
    • ‘It would seem that on request of the King, a ship had to be made to fulfil the obligations of the townsmen.’
    • ‘Celtic shouldn't lose at home to a team who have had such a difficult season, but I wouldn't rule it out.’
    • ‘I'd imagine that serious fans will feel really let down.’
    • ‘You'd think that it might be important for her to be able to hear opponents, wouldn't you?’
    • ‘They may struggle against Wales and I wouldn't rule out a Scots win over there.’
    • ‘I have still to speak to the school, but I wouldn't think this would bring out any issues.’
    • ‘I simply mentioned that I wouldn't mind going to Skuba but doubted my friends would come.’
    • ‘He incurred three short suspensions, which would seem to indicate that he still has work to do.’
    • ‘It would be futile to hope that athletes might be encouraged toward exemplary behaviour.’
    • ‘We would therefore hope he will take on board the feelings of fellow residents.’
  • 6mainly ironic Used to make a comment about behaviour that is typical.

    ‘they would say that, wouldn't they?’
    • ‘Now, the conspiracy theorists are going to say, well, the coroners would say that, wouldn't they?’
    • ‘Yellow card for Adams for claiming that Carlos took a dive. Now he wouldn't do that, would he?’
  • 7 literary with clause Expressing a wish or regret.

    ‘would that he had lived to finish it’
    • ‘Anderson says - and would that he had said it sooner - ‘It can't be England all the time, there must be a middle way’.’
    • ‘Oh, I would that I could change his mind.’
    • ‘You're so beautiful, and I would I could stay here with you.’


On the differences in use between would and should, see should. For a discussion of the use of would of instead of would have, see have


Old English wolde, past of wyllan (see will).