Would and could are both examples of modals. You can use modals to ask things, to say what is possible, or to give someone advice.
When do you use would?
– When something can be true in the future.
– When you want to ask something politely.
Irena would fly to Australia, but she doesn’t have the money.
I would like two coffees, please.
Would you like to come to my party next Thursday?
When do you use could?
– When something is or was possible.
– When you want to ask politely if something is possible.
Could it be true that Josephine is in love?
Could you open the window, please?
I couldn’t understand him, because he spoke too fast.
In some cases, both would and could can be used.
When things are possible in the future.
1 It would be a good idea to go for a walk before lunch.
It means more or less the same as: It could be a good idea to go for a walk before lunch.
2 It would be possible to see Dr. Danqian at 3 o’clock.
is almost the same as:
It could be possible to see Dr. Danqian at 3 o’clock.
3 Could you bring me a tissue?
isn’t so different from:
Would you bring me a tissue?
4 Alice would improve her English if she read an English book now and then.
is more or less the same as:
Alice could improve her English if she read an English book now and then.
I hope this didn’t confuse you too much.
|1. I need to go somewhere. __________ you wait for me, please?|
|2. I _____________ not wear that mini-dress to work if I were you.|
|3. What kind of holiday ___________ you like to go on if you had the time and the money?|
|4. You _____________ just try it first.|
|5. ______________ you help me with this, please?|
|6. ______________ you like to sit next to me?|
|7. _____________ you tell me what the problem is?|
|8. ____________ you say that again please?|
|9. Ian _____________ like to go home early today because he needs to pick up his son.|
|10. I __________ tell you if I ____________ , but it’s a secret.|
|11. It ____________ be great if you ______________ join us tonight.|
Correct answers: scroll down to the bottom of this page.
10. would could
11. would could