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  • Using Would or Could in English: Video and Exercise

    Do you know when to use Would or Could in English? This is possibly the grammar point/video we have worked the hardest on. Explaining the difference between these two words is hard, even for native English speakers! They have similar meanings, and can be used in similar situations, but they are not always interchangeable. We worked hard, and produced a great video and exercise to help you know when to use Would or Could.

    Try these exercises, then watch the video to see the answers:

    1. (Would/Could/both are possible) you pass the salt.

    2. If I won the lottery, I (would/could/both are possible) travel the world.

    3. If I were him, I (would/could/both are possible)call her.

    You may have noticed that in one of these examples both words can be used, but they have slightly different meanings. Watch the video to learn more about the different meanings, then try the exercises below.

    Ok, now try the exercises below. If you write your answers in comments, we will reply.

    1. If I were you, I (would/could/both are possible) wake up early tomorrow.

    2. If I had a million dollars I (would/could/both are possible) really want to travel the world. (Careful on this one!)

    3. Grandma, (would/could/both are possible) you please pass the salt.

    4. If I had studied more in school, I (would/could/both are possible) definitely be better at math.

    5. If he had trained harder, he (would/could/both are possible) have been in Olympics.

    • hangpham

      1.would
      2.both are possible
      3. could
      4.could
      5.would

      • LOIEnglish

        Number 2 is incorrect. The correct answer is ‘WOULD.’ The reason that both are not possible is the regular verb following the modal verb, WANT. Here is a good way to tell: Does, “I CAN WANT more coffee.” sound correct? No because generally we don’t use CAN or COULD with WANT. Want is a desire so it is always possible to desire something.

        Number 4 and 5 are also incorrect. Number 4 has the word ‘DEFINITELY’ in the sentence. When we use definitely then we don’t use ‘COULD’ because they contradict each other.

        Number 5, both choices are possible. If you use ‘WOULD’ then you are more certain of the imaginary outcome. If you use ‘COULD’ then you are talking about a possible imaginary outcome. I hope this helps!

        • hangpham

          thanks u so much