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Will and Would: a little further
WILL and WOULD ( going a little further ... )
Many excellent lessons about the FUTURE have already been published on this site. I'd rather not add one more ... Yet, my experience with Learners has shown me that the first aspect of WILL/WOULD (the SIMPLE FUTURE form) is quite easily used and remembered whereas some other aspects of these same auxiliaries are seldom known or used and remembered ... I'll insist on these ones ...
1) WILL et WOULD, AUXILIARIES of the simple FUTURE and '(modal) CONDITIONAL' :
a) In the Affirmative Form, we know that the SIMPLE FUTURE, which predicts or announces that an action will happen (or not !), is built with the auxiliary WILL : Subject + WILL + Verb. Short forms are commonly used.
ex : I'm afraid it will rain tomorrow during the Roland Garros final ; I'll take an umbrella ...
b) In the interrogative, the future is as follows : WILL + Subject + Verb ? No short forms are possible.
ex : Will you lend him your car if he asks you to ?
c) In the negative form, you just have to put NOT between 'WILL' and the Verb : Subject + WILL + not + Verb. Short forms are extremely frequent especially in spoken language.
ex : He won't (will not) give me the reward he won for his race !
2) WILL and WOULD : Express WILLINGNESS, CHOICE, CONSENT, and INTENTION.
They are modal auxiliaries expressing willingness :
a) Affirmative Form : * the vows that future spouses exchange during their wedding ceremony : ' I will help you when you need help, and I will turn to you when I need help. I choose you as the person with whom I will spend my life.' ... 'Will you take XXX as your lawful wedded wife...? ' ....'I WILL !' Here, each 'will' means 'I want to', 'I insist on'...
* Similarly, the famous song : 'I will survive' by Gloria Gaynor, has become a hymn to the willpower to survive, to conquer and win !
b) Negative Form : 'won't' is stressed and expresses refusal , obstinacy, a promise in the negative.
ex1 : Sorry, Mom, I won't do it again ...(I'm determined not to !)
ex2 : I won't obey his orders ! = I refuse to obey his orders ...
ex3 : He said he was too busy and wouldn't come ! => He refused to come ...
The refusal even extends to inanimate objects and how they respond to Human beings' will power ...
ex4 : My car won't start ! and the door won't open : It's stuck ! (to stick, I stuck, stuck.) The car and the door have a will power of their own !
3) The Form of will/would expressing HABITS and REPETITIONS :
This third meaning taken by will/would is the one you never remember, or use spontaneously ! ... It corresponds to a repetitive attitude or behaviour. It's the Form of Habits and 'general Truths'.
In the future, it indicates a usual attitude (frequently found in proverbs : 'Blood will tell' ! ; 'Boys will be boys! ; 'When the cat's away, the mice will play !'
a) In the affirmative form of the future, it often expresses obstinacy, stubbornness ('will' is stressed) and in the interrogative form , it's often an 'order':
ex1: He will come in without knocking ! What a lack of education ... (He insists on coming in ...)
ex2 : Will you be quiet, please? = Be quiet !
b) In the past, it often points out to a somewhat ritualistic, if not persistant, repetition of facts which seems to characterize a person.
ex1 : She was a chatterbox and would spend hours on the phone !
ex2 : My grandmother was calm and loving ... she would cuddle us and would tell us stories everynight before we went to sleep.
TO conclude : Before starting a translation, or a mere 'understanding of a written test', you should wonder whether will/would act as :
* 'SIMPLE FUTURE OR 'FUTURE IN THE PAST'
* expression of 'WILL POWER'
* the expression of a 'CHARACTERISTIC HABIT' Thus, you'll avoid making terrible mistakes !
BEWARE ! In the following exercise, first, you'll be asked to find the good form of WILL/WOULD, THEN to find the value of this modal !
(=What's printed in CAPITAL LETTERS in the conclusion above !) GOOD LUCK FOR IT !
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