Review of modals: ‘would’

TipHere is my boardwork for when I review the modal verb ‘would’.


1 Reporting what someone said in the past.

A to B at lunch: I’ll meet you in the bar at 7.

B speaking to C in the bar at 7.15: A said he’d meet us here at 7.

2 Used with if to talk about something imaginary in the future (or something that you want to happen).

If I had a solution, I’d tell you.

I would appreciate it if you could pay the invoice by the end of this week.

3 Talking about something in the past that was possible, but in fact didn’t happen.

I would have called you, but there wasn’t time.

Thanks for the invitation – I’m sorry I couldn’t join you. I’m sure I would have enjoyed it.

4 Polite requests and offers

Would you shut the door, please?

Would you like a cup of coffee or something?

And notice these phrases:

Would you mind opening the window?

Would you mind if I opened the window?

Would it be all right if I opened the window?

5 It wouldn’t work/start/open

I turned the key, but the motor wouldn’t start.

I clicked on the pdf, but it wouldn’t open.


This is a continuation of my ‘Review of modals’, begun last month.  As I mentioned in last month’s post on ‘will’, I don’t give heavy grammar input in my courses, but instead do short ‘reviews’, almost as fillers in a lesson. They are not meant to be a rigorous, comprehensive treatment of a grammar area, just an attempt to bring to awareness what students already know passively. I write the above text on the board, and then ask for more example sentences from the group (which I also write up). Then I drill some of the phrases, focussing on the contractions.