Will / Would

Express attitudes of determination, unwillingness or failure

contestant
 

 

Will – determination

WILL

Besides expressing future time, will can also express volition (determination) or willingness (happy to help without needing persuasion).

WILL PLAIN FORM VERB

I will

win this singing contest! (determination)

I will

sing anything they would like. 
(willingness)

I will  

sing my best!
(willingness, determination)

*I would

win that singing contest!    
(*not used anymore for a past wish)

*Would

that we had won that contest.
(*not used anymore for a past wish)

OTHER EXPRESSIONS

Similar meanings may be expressed with the following expressions: be determined, be decided on, resolve (to), set one's mind (to).

EXPRESSION INFINITIVE / GERUND FORM

I am determined

to win this singing contest!

I agree

to sing anything they would like.

I intend

to sing my best!

I have set my mind to

winning this singing contest!

 

 

 

determination (n.) – trying to do something even when it is difficult
impress (v.) – make others think favorably about someone or something
mind over matter
(expression) – effect a change with the mind (e.g., "If you will try (volition) , it will happen (future)."
volition (n.) – a determination to do something, happening by the use of ones' mind or will-power
Note will is both a modal verb expressing future, and will is a lexical verb: She willed herself to continue on through her illness.
Also see Grammar Notes (modals).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will not / Would not

Be Unwilling

 

 

 

Won't – be unwilling (refusal)

WILL NOT / WON'T

Will not or won't expresses the idea of being unwilling to do something or being determined not to do something (refusal).

PRESENT

The judges won't vote for me.

The head judge won't let me sing another song. 

I won't leave the stage! 
I will not leave the stage! (emphasis on "not") 

PAST

The judges wouldn't vote for me. 

They wouldn't let me sing another song. 

I wouldn't leave the stage.  

OTHER WORDS

Similar meanings may be expressed with be opposed to, be against, disapprove of, would rather not, decline (unwilling), refuse, give a firm "no", or say "over my dead body".

 

The judges are unwilling / reluctant to vote for me.

The head judge is unwilling / refuses to let me sing another song.

I refuse to leave the stage!

 

The judges were unwilling / refused to vote for me.

The judges were unwilling / refused to let me sing another song. 

I was unwilling / refused to leave the stage! 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would have

Failure & Disappointment

contestant tears
 

 

Failured Intet or Disappointment

FAILED INTENT

We use would have to express an intended activity that did not happen.  Optionally, we include a but-clause with an excuse or reason.

I would have done better, but my voice cracked

They would have let me sing another song, but there wasn't enough time. 

I would have cried on the stage, but I held my tears until I was off stage.

DISAPPOINTMENT

After a clause with hope, expect, fear, etc., would expresses an outcome contrary to reality, a disappointment when combined with but with an adverse situation.

I hoped that I would do well, but my voice cracked.  (I didn't do well.)

I expected that they would let me sing another song, but there wasn't enough time.  (A getting a second try was unsuccessful.)

I feared that I would cry on stage, but I held back my tears.  (I didn't cry.)  

 

"voice cracked"  –  went off-pitch (adj.) – not producing the sound of the musical notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will

Two Meanings: Willing & Future

 

 

 

Willpower or Future?

LEXICAL VERB

Will by itself is a verb expresses (1) "cause something to happen by thinking about it very hard" (willing, choosing, or resolving) or (2) "give possessions or property after death in a legal document (testament)".

CAUSE SOMETHING TO HAPPEN BY AN ACT OF WILL

He wills himself to get up and go to work everyday.  (determines his action)

The magician willed the woman to float in the air. (cause to happen by an act of determination) 

To will is not enough, one must do.  (This is a saying.)
 

BEQUEATH – GIVE PROPERTY AFTER DEATH

He willed his house to his children.   

The elderly woman willed her entire estate to her cat.  

MODAL VERB

Will more commonly expresses (1) a future action, activity, or event that we think, guess, or predict will happen; or (2) determining oneself to so something, "effecting change by the use of one's mind or will power". 

FUTURE

If he knows what is good for him, he will force himself to get up and go to work.    (He will will himself to go to work.)

After the magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat, he will make woman to float in the air. (He will will her to float in the air.)

 

FUTURE

He will leave his house to his children when he dies. (He will will his house to his children.)  

Upon her death, she will transfer ownership of her assets to her cat.

 

assets (n.) – all that one owns; things that can be sold (e.g., house, possessions, stocks, land)
determine
(oneself) (v.) – something we decide to do even if it is difficult

dynamic modal use the subject's own ability or willingness to act. (Dynamic modality does not express the speaker's opinion, nor does the speaker affect the situation.)   I will prepare lunch. [intention, plan] . I will have lunch. [volition] Who will make lunch?  I will. [willingness]

lexical verb the subject performs an action  (The verb accepts 'do support'.) Does the king will this to happen? . He can walk if he wills it. [wish] . His grandfather willed the house to his son. [gave after death]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*I will be six-feet tall.  (not within one's willpower)

*He willed to take a vacation. (missing receiver or object)

SOLUTION

I will be on time (willpower)

I will be six-feet tall when I am fully grown. (prediction)

He willed his boss to give him vacation time.

He wanted to take a vacation,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Grammar Descriptions

Advanced

 

 

AZAR / BIBER HUDDLESTON / SWAN
AZAR HUDDLESTON

Will  – "Willingness" 

  • willingness The phone is ringing. I'll get it.
  • refusal The car won't start. (inanimate)  She will not tell me. (animate)

Will (not be going to) is used to express willingness. In this case, will expresses a decision the spaker makes at the moment of speaking. (Azar 4-2)

Modality (3 §9.2.2)  See Modality for epistemic, deontic, and dynamic examples.

  • volition (dynamic) He will be back at 2:00. (shall) (3 §9.6)
  • refusal (dynamic) He won't help us.

intention vs. willingness →   I've asked her to help, but she's not going to. (intention) I've asked her to help, but she won't. (refusal)
 

BIBER SWAN

Will    There is no formal future tense in English. (6.2.1.3) 
Modals and semi-modals can be grouped into three categories: (485)

  • permission/ possibility / ability: can, could, may, might
  • obligation / necessity: must, should, had better, have (got) to, need to ought to, be supposed to
  • volition / prediction: will, would, shall, be going to

 Semi-modals be going (to), ought (to), have (to), need (to), had better, have got (to), be supposed (to)

Will  "will and shall (interpersonal uses)"  (217)

  • willingness, or announce a decision Can somebody help me? ~ I will.(629.4)
  • firm intention, a promise, a threat I really will stop smoking. (629.4)
  • unwillingness or refusal She won't open the door.(629.4) 
    Would cannot refer to a past refusal.  She would open the door.  [past routine]
  • instructions and orders Will you get me a tissue? (Would is a more polite request.)

 

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Willing & Unwilling

nose ring
 

 

Complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 1-10" button.

 

1.

2.

3.
object (v.) - oppose, speak against someone or something

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10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

The Right Motivation

grandmother online

 

 

 

 

Complete the paragraph.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Afterwards, compare your responses to the answers by clicking the "check" button.

 

11-15.
My grandmother was a very adventurous woman, but not when it came to using the Internet.   Then, her first  grandchild was born.  Because she lived four hours away from us, we told her, She made up her mind and said, It was very difficult for her, but she never said "can't".  After a few video-chats with her grandson, she was "on board" with the Internet.   She said,    She added,
My grandmother was a very adventurous woman, but not when it came to using the Internet.   Then, her first  grandchild was born.  Because she lived four hours away from us, we told her,   It was very difficult for her, but she never said "can't".  After a few video-chats with her grandson, she was "on board" with the Internet.  She said,  She added,   (I think she meant "blog".)