How to use "WOULD" like a native English speaker


(upbeat music)

- I remember when I was a baby,

I would go out every day

and play outside.

- Granddad I can't play on the street,

there's like a million cars out there.

- I would just go outside and play with the cars.

- Mom, grandad's going strange again.

She said this would happen.

- Uh-oh!

- What?

- Accident.

- Ah, ah.

- I would prefer it if you didn't tell anyone

about my situation here.

- So disgusting.

Would you like a towel or something for the-

- Um, actually Timmy a new pair of pants would be better.

(upbeat music)

- Every time I as you a question,

write your answer in your notes.

Then at the end of the video

write your notes in the comments.

First, of course you probably know this one,

this is when you make softer, more polite questions

or requests.

If I am at a pancake restaurant

and the waiter wants to offer me more pancakes,

what's his question?

Do you want more pancakes?

A waiter should be polite, formal, right?

So he won't say do you want, no.

Would you like more pancakes?

Yes please, all of them.

So with offers or requests,

changing want to would like,

it just sounds softer, more polite,

more (kissing sound effect).

Actually we can make this more polite.

Lets add the word mind.

Give me a lift to the station.

To give someone a lift,

that means to take someone in your car,

drive them to a place.

In this case she wants a lift to the train station.

Usually, if you have a request you want to be polite.

So she should change this to would

and the word mind, it sounds much more polite.

Would you mind give me a lift?

Okay there is one problem here.

With this expression, would you mind,

you need to change that verb to an ING,

an ING form.

Would you mind giving me a lift?

That sounds much better, much more polite.

If he wants to say yes that's okay,

he can reply no, I don't mind.

So again do you mind or would you mind,

it just means is it a problem?

So his answer no, it's not a problem.

No, I don't mind.

Your first question,

think of a polite request that you want to ask someone.

Use the word would in your request.

Remember write all your answers

in your notes, then at the end of the video

write those notes in the comments and I'll reply.

Lets meditate.

You ready?

How else can we use would?

What does it mean?


It's the past of will, that's easy.

Okay so yes, but

how does that work?

Explain to me.

Okay so tomorrow I will go out,

but today I would stay at home.

No, see no, no high five for you.

That's not correct.

Okay as a past of will, let me explain.

Okay so when you're a child you have ideas

about when you're grown up,

what are you going to do?

So this kid is saying when I grow up

I will be an astronaut.

Okay so lets go to the future.

Okay now in the future this is him as an adult,

and he wants to say from a baby I knew

this was my future.

We talked about the future here,

but now he's referencing the past about the future,

if that makes sense.

So we change the future to a past.

How do we do that?

We change will to would.

So true story, for me,

when I was a child I thought I would be a magician.

To be honest I'm kind of disappointed

that I'm not a magician.

Question two for your notes,

when you were a child,

what did you think you would do as a grown up?

Another common way we use this is very British,

talking about the weather.

So you look outside your window,

you see a few clouds, some good sun.

Okay, I feel confident, I feel optimistic.

I think it will be sunny today, I think.

But this is England.

So you decide to wear shorts and a t-shirt.

But you forgot you live in England

and it rains all the time.

So now you're wet and you're cold

and very disappointed.


Because of a past thought.

So how can we express that?

Ugh, I thought it would be sunny today.

Again, it's a past thought about the future.

So would is not simply the past of will, no.

Think of it this way,

would, it's the future from the past.

Another way might be reported speech.

There's a party tonight

and you're wondering oh who's going to bring the beer?

And he remembers that he had a conversation

with his friend Becky.

She said this: "I'll bring the beer,"

but remember this is from the past,

so how does he report that speech?

Oh yeah Becky said she would bring the beer.

Or contract it, she said she'd bring the beer.

So again in reported speech you're bringing the future

from the past.

In that way it's okay to use would

as a past of will.

Because as you know, in reported speech

the verbs, they go back one form,

or one back in history.

Another way you can use would as a past of will

is in the negative.

You can use it to say that something

or someone refused to do something.

For example, in the morning you are trying to go to work,

so you get in your car (door closing),

but this happens.

(engine turning over)


The car won't start.

It refuses to start.

So when you finally arrive at work

you can tell your boss,

I'm sorry, I'm sorry I'm late,

I'm late I know, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

The car wouldn't start,

I had to run.

So we changed the car won't start,

now it refuses to start,

to a past tense, before,

the car wouldn't start.

You can use this for other machines,

like I think my laptop's broken,

it won't turn on.

But yeah it means refused to do something.

Refused to work usually.

But lets us a human example.

You want to go to the cinema with your friend,

but your friend doesn't want to go.

So she goes to the cinema alone.

And she wants to say my friend refused to come with me.

Lets change this.

My friend wouldn't, now do we use to or no,

what do you think?

This is a motor verb, no to after this.

My friend wouldn't come with me.

Worst friends ever.

So question three?

I think three, I've already lost count.

The next question, if I ask my friend to send

me a photo of her new puppy

and she says yeah, yeah, yeah

I'll do it later, what did she say?

Write it in reported speech.

The next question, when was the last time

that your friend refused to join you

for an event or to something?

What happened?


Remember to use wouldn't in your answer.

Okay next we can use would to talk about

hypothetical or unreal events or situations.

This is also known as the second conditional.

You don't need to remember that,

but that's the name of this grammar.

I made a whole video about this grammar,

you can watch it by clicking here.

But basically it just means you're talking about

hypothetical situation, it's not real.

It's imaginary.

It's this one.

You imagine a different situation

for right now or the future.

You use would in this way.

If I had lots of money I would travel.

An imaginary situation, that verb is past,

if I had.

You mean present, but the verb is past.

If I had lots of money,

I would travel.

Another example, probably you are not in England right now,

but if you were in England right now,

you would eat English food, right?

Because English food is the best.

I'm kidding.

In England we don't eat English food, it's disgusting.

We eat your food.

But again, if you want a more complete explanation

of the second conditional of this grammar form

you can click here to watch that video.

Or if you feel confident in your notes,

here's the next question.

If you met your favorite person,

your favorite celebrity,

who would you meet?

What would you say?

What would you do?

Let me know.

Now also that grammar form

is very useful when giving advice

or giving recommendations.

An example,

she has to break up with her boyfriend today

and she needs advice.

She needs some suggestions,

some recommendations about how to do it.

I have to break up with John today,

should I do it by email?

Well her friend can offer advice,

can offer recommendations using would,

using that grammar form.

I'd do it face to face.

It removes the if I were you sentence.

So it sounds like and it feels like

you should blah, blah, blah,

but what she says is I would blah, blah, blah.

Also, side note, really?

If you have to break up with someone,

how would you do it?

People always say break up with someone face to face,

no, if someone broke up with me,

just be like I don't love you anymore, bye.

The next question is,

your friend has to break up with someone,

what would you do?

Give them advice, give them recommendations.

Now that is for present unreal situations,

but what about past unreal situations?

That's called the third conditional.

And again I have a whole video explaining it.

You can click here to watch that,

but the short explanation is this.

Okay today you went to school,

you went to work,

but lets imagine that you didn't

go to work or school.

Lets imagine that you did something else.

What did you do?

So the correct form of that would be

if you hadn't gone to school or work,

what would you have done?

Now don't worry, many people will need

more of an explanation than just this,

and that's fine, click here

to watch a full explanation,

a full video all about this grammar form.

But again if that is enough for you,

lets move on.

And that is your next question.

If you hadn't gone to school,

if you hadn't gone to work today,

what would you have done?

Would you have gone shopping?

Would you have stayed in bed all day?

I would have.

Now remember, like I said before,

you can give advice, you can give recommendations

with that second conditional.

It's the same with a third conditional,

but about past events.

It's not helpful and really you're just telling that person

oh you made a mistake?

Yeah see if I were you,

I, I, I never make mistakes.

I'm better than you.

Yeah kind of annoying.

But you might hear it and you might want to use it.

I mean for example,

he missed his flight because he slept too long.

He overslept.

And his very unhelpful friend will say

oh that sucks, I wouldn't have slept so late.

Yeah cheers you're brilliant and I'm stupid,

that doesn't help me.

Now everyone has a friend

who has had this situation,

like everyone.

This happens.

One of them cheats on the other one,

and they're like yeah he cheated on me

but we stayed together.

But another person in that friend group

will always say

I would've ended it.

In the friend group everyone talks about

what they would have done in that situation.

So you're next question is this.

What would you have done in that situation,

if your boyfriend or girlfriend had cheated on you?

We can also use would to talk about past behaviors,

past habits like used to?

Yes like used to.

Read this.

When I was a kid I used to go out every day,

I used to see friends,

we used to play games.

Also I used to be fat.

Okay, fine.

Used to.

It talks about repeated past actions

and past states, right?

That's used to.

The word would can replace used to

when we talk about repeated past actions,

past behaviors.

So we can change some of these.

This is a repeated action, right?

Every day, it's and it's past.

Great, so when I was a kid I would go out every day.

That's perfect.

The meaning is the same, the feeling is the same.

Great, lets move on.

I used to see friends, same thing.

We can change that.

I would see friends.

And again, we would play games.

I can contract these to be honest.

When I was a kid, I'd go out every day,

I'd see friends, we'd play games.

That's good, that sounds natural.

But how about this one?

I used to be fat.

Would is not for past states, no.

Used to is okay but not would.

Would is for repeated actions

or past behaviors.

So for this one I can't use would.

I would be fat, no, that doesn't work.

So we will leave that.

Now it sounds like this.

When I was a kid I'd go out every day,

I'd see friends, and we'd play games.

Also I used to be fat.

Okay those ideas, they're not connected,

but you get the idea.

The next question for your notes is this.

Tell me how your life used to be.

Maybe when you were a child,

when you were younger.

When you lived in a different country,

a different city,

maybe when you had a different job.

How was your life different than to now?

Use the words used to and would.

Okay, okay, finally, finally, finally,

going back to that whole politeness thing,

and you know that would is the word we use

for hypothetical or unreal situations,

well that is why would makes a question

a bit more polite, a bit softer

because it's less direct.

It adds distance with what you're requesting

or what you're offering.

With would it doesn't sound immediate.

It doesn't sound definite.

Think about this.

Do you wanna go to the cinema tonight?

This is a real invitation.

Lets go to the cinema.

This is a real invitation.

It's really going to happen.

But what about if you asked with would?

Would you wanna go to the cinema tonight?

It adds a level of distance to your question.

Maybe we could go, it's not definite,

it's just a possibility.

I'm not definitely going, I'm just thinking of going.

But if I was going would you wanna go?

It's not so direct as this type of question.

So try this type of question with would.

The next time you want to test someone's feelings

about a possible situation,

about a hypothetical, particularly

if you want to suggest it

but you're not sure how they feel about it.

So yes there are lots of different ways

that we use would.

And I hope that clarifies many of the ways.

The answers that you wrote in your notes,

put them in the comments.

I'll correct you, I'll reply to you.

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