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Would or Could

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.

could would

When do you use would?

–          When something can be true in the future.

 

–          When you want to ask something politely.

 

For example:

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.

 

For example:

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?

When things are possible in the future.

Examples:

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.

 

Quiz

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers:

1. could

2. would

3. would

4. could

5. could

6. would

7. could

8. could

9. would

10. would could

11. would could

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