Unit 37. Would
For would and would have in if sentences (conditional), see Units 34, 35, and 36. For would in offers, invitations, etc., see Unit 30. This unit explains some other uses of would.
Sometimes we use would after I wish…. Study this example:
I wish someone would answer that telephone. It’s been ringing for about five minutes.
The music next door is very loud. I wish they would turn it down. We often use I wish… wouldn’t to complain about the way people do things:
I wish you wouldn’t drive so fast. It makes me nervous. We use I wish… would when we want something to change or somebody else to do something. So you cannot say “I wish /would ….” For more information about wish, see Units 35 and 36.
Would/wouldn’t is sometimes the past of will/won’t: present Tom: I’ll lend you some money, Ann.
past Tom said that he would lend Ann some money.
present Ann: I promise I won’t be late.
past Ann promised that she wouldn’t be late.
present Tom: Darn it! The car won’t start.
past Tom was angry because the car wouldn’t start.
When we were children, we lived by the sea. In summer, if the weather was
You can also use would when you look back on the past and remember things that often happened:
nice, we would all get up early and go for a swim.
Whenever Linda was angry, she would just walk out of the room.
Used to is also possible in these sentences:
… we all used to get up early and go…
See Unit 24 for used to.