VerbAbout VerbsAction VerbsCausative VerbsContractionsDo and MakeFinite and Nonfinite VerbsGerundInfinitive FormInversionLinking VerbsModal VerbsMay and MightMoodsPhrasal VerbsSay and TellShallStative VerbsThird Person SingularUsed toRegular VerbsIrregular VerbsVerb FormsCompound Verbs
ConditionalConditionalZero ConditionalFirst ConditionalSecond ConditionalThird ConditionalMixed ConditionalInversion in Conditional Sentences
Passive VoicePassive VoicePresent Simple PassivePresent Continuous PassivePast Simple PassivePast Continuous PassivePerfect Tenses PassiveFuture Simple PassiveGoing to PassiveSay / Believe / SupposeGet + Participle
Adverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of Frequency - Position in Sentence
QuestionsQuestion TagsRhetorical QuestionsEcho Questions
Reported SpeechReported SpeechModals in Reported SpeechReported Commands and RequestsReported QuestionsPresent Perfect in Reported SpeechFuture Perfect in Reported Speech
Irregular VerbsIrregular Verbs - GroupsIrregular Verbs - Forms
ParticiplesPresent ParticiplePast ParticiplePerfect Participle
Other TopicsWill vs. Going toIf / Even if / Whether / Unless If + Were or If + WasAs If / As Though + Past SubjunctiveHabits Expressed by Will and WouldHad BetterSubject
Read MoreAuxiliary VerbsAuxiliary Verbs: To BeAuxiliary Verbs: To HaveAuxiliary Verbs: To DoWhen To Use the Verb To Be
Grammar

Habits Expressed by Will and Would

In this article, I'm going to describe how habits can be expressed by will and would. Habits in the present are normally expressed by the Present Simple.
However, among other uses of the Future Simplewill + infinitive can be used instead when we wish to emphasise the characteristics of the performer
rather than the action performed.

General statements

It is chiefly used in general statements.

 Examples:

  • An Englishman will usually show you the way in the street. (It is normal for an Englishman to act in this way.)
  • She will always greet you.

Past routines

This is not a very important use of will, but the past form, would, has a much wider use and can replace used to when we are describing a past routine.

Take this sentence for an example:

  • On Sundays he used to (or would) get up early and go fishing. He used to/would spend the whole day by the river and in the evening used to/would come home with marvellous stories of the fish he had nearly caught.

Note, however, that when used to expresses a discontinued habit, it cannot be replaced by would. Both will and would can be contracted when used as above.

Obstinate insistence, usually habitual:

Use will to express obstinate insistence, usually habitual:

  • If you will keep your watch half an hour slow, it is hardly surprising that you are late for your appointments!

Would is used in the past:

  • We all tried to stop him smoking in bed but he would do it.

Will and would are not contracted here and are strongly stressed.

Would can express a characteristic action, usually one which annoys the speaker:

  • Bill objects/objected = He would object. (He always objects.)
VerbAbout VerbsAction VerbsCausative VerbsContractionsDo and MakeFinite and Nonfinite VerbsGerundInfinitive FormInversionLinking VerbsModal VerbsMay and MightMoodsPhrasal VerbsSay and TellShallStative VerbsThird Person SingularUsed toRegular VerbsIrregular VerbsVerb FormsCompound Verbs
ConditionalConditionalZero ConditionalFirst ConditionalSecond ConditionalThird ConditionalMixed ConditionalInversion in Conditional Sentences
Passive VoicePassive VoicePresent Simple PassivePresent Continuous PassivePast Simple PassivePast Continuous PassivePerfect Tenses PassiveFuture Simple PassiveGoing to PassiveSay / Believe / SupposeGet + Participle
Adverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of Frequency - Position in Sentence
QuestionsQuestion TagsRhetorical QuestionsEcho Questions
Reported SpeechReported SpeechModals in Reported SpeechReported Commands and RequestsReported QuestionsPresent Perfect in Reported SpeechFuture Perfect in Reported Speech
Irregular VerbsIrregular Verbs - GroupsIrregular Verbs - Forms
ParticiplesPresent ParticiplePast ParticiplePerfect Participle
Other TopicsWill vs. Going toIf / Even if / Whether / Unless If + Were or If + WasAs If / As Though + Past SubjunctiveHabits Expressed by Will and WouldHad BetterSubject
Read MoreAuxiliary VerbsAuxiliary Verbs: To BeAuxiliary Verbs: To HaveAuxiliary Verbs: To DoWhen To Use the Verb To Be