Definition of would modal verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



     modal verb
    modal verb
    BrE strong form BrE//wʊd//
    ; NAmE strong form NAmE//wʊd//
    ; BrE weak form BrE//wəd//
    , BrE//əd//
    ; NAmE weak form NAmE//wəd//
    , NAmE//əd//
    Verb Formswould notwouldn't
    BrE BrE//ˈwʊdnt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈwʊdnt//
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  1. 1  used as the past form of will when reporting what somebody has said or thought He said he would be here at eight o'clock (= His words were: ‘I will be there at eight o'clock.’). She asked if I would help. They told me that they probably wouldn't come.
  2. 2  used for talking about the result of an event that you imagine She'd look better with shorter hair. If you went to see him, he would be delighted. Hurry up! It would be a shame to miss the beginning of the play. She'd be a fool to accept it (= if she accepted).
  3. 3  used for describing a possible action or event that did not in fact happen, because something else did not happen first If I had seen the advertisement in time I would have applied for the job. They would never have met if she hadn't gone to Emma's party.
  4. 4  so that/in order that somebody/something would used for saying why somebody does something She burned the letters so that her husband would never read them.
  5. 5  wish (that) somebody/something would used for saying what you want to happen I wish you'd be quiet for a minute.
  6. 6  used to show that somebody/something was not willing or refused to do something She wouldn't change it, even though she knew it was wrong. My car wouldn't start this morning.
  7. 7  used to ask somebody politely to do something Would you mind leaving us alone for a few minutes? Would you open the door for me, please?
  8. 8  used in polite offers or invitations Would you like a sandwich? Would you have dinner with me on Friday?
  9. 9  would like, love, hate, prefer, etc. something/(somebody) to do something | would rather do something/somebody did something used to say what you like, love, hate, etc. I'd love a coffee. I'd be only too glad to help. I'd hate you to think I was criticizing you. I'd rather come with you. I'd rather you came with us.
  10. 10  would imagine, say, think, etc. (that)… used to give opinions that you are not certain about I would imagine the job will take about two days. I'd say he was about fifty.
  11. 11  I would… used to give advice I wouldn't have any more to drink, if I were you.
  12. 12  used for talking about things that often happened in the past synonym used to When my parents were away, my grandmother would take care of me. He'd always be the first to offer to help.
  13. 13(usually disapproving) used for talking about behaviour that you think is typical ‘She said it was your fault.’ ‘Well, she would say that, wouldn't she? She's never liked me.’
  14. 14would that… (literary) used to express a strong wish Would that he had lived to see it. Grammar Pointmodal verbs The modal verbs are can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will and would. Dare, need, have to and used to also share some of the features of modal verbs. Modal verbs have only one form. They have no -ing or -ed forms and do not add -s to the 3rd person singular form:He can speak three languages. She will try and visit tomorrow. Modal verbs are followed by the infinitive of another verb without to. The exceptions are ought to, have to and used to:You must find a job. You ought to stop smoking. I used to smoke but I gave up two years ago. Questions are formed without do/does in the present, or did in the past:Can I invite Mary? Should I have invited Mary? Negative sentences are formed with not or the short form -n’t and do not use do/does or did.You will find more help with how to use modal verbs at the dictionary entries for each verb. Grammar Pointshould / would In modern English, the traditional difference between should and would in reported sentences, conditions, requests, etc. has disappeared and should is not used very much at all. In spoken English the short form ’d is usually used:I said I’d (I would) be late. He’d (he would) have liked to have been an actor. I’d (I would) really prefer tea. The main use of should now is to tell somebody what they ought to do, to give advice, or to add emphasis:We should really go and visit them soon. You should have seen it!
  15. Word OriginOld English wolde, past of wyllan, of Germanic origin.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: would