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Learn Me The English Grammar Would – Part 4. Puc’s Great Secrets.

Part 4. Uses of Would

Focus a bit on this shit.

  • Desire

I want may sometimes sound like a demand. There are times when it is inappropriate to use it. Compare the following examples:

  • Would like is followed by a noun or an infinitive, and when spoken, would is often contracted.

I’d like coffee. (noun)
I’d like to see the menu. (infinitive)

  • Preference

Rather can be used with would to show preference. Here are some common constructions:

  • Asking about a choice of preference

Would you rather attend a lecture or buy a book?

  • Expressing a preference

I would rather visit the ruins than go to the library.

In the negative form, a question indicates surprise.
Wouldn’t you rather take a tour?

  • Rather than

Rather than can be used as a conjunction.
When it is used with the bare infinitive form of a verb, it indicates negation as a contrary choice or wish.

Frequently, rather than is followed by a gerund.
Rather than buying a motorcycle, Paul bought a bicycle.

Exercise 1: Make the following sentences more polite.
Example: I want to see the archives.
                 I would like to see the archives.

  1. I want to get a book on the history of the Second World War.
  1.  I want to see the transport museum.
  1.  She wants people to volunteer to help with the project.
  1.  They want to be given access to the restricted files.


Exercise 2:  Change these cues into questions using would. Then change them using rather than.

Example: Learn about history on TV / learn history through reading.
Would you rather learn about history on TV or learn it through reading?
Rather than learn about history on TV, would you prefer to learn about it through reading?

  1. Go to a museum / go on a tour.
  2.  Research the records / investigate the site.
  3.  Learn modern history / learn ancient history.

Review your knowledge: