Modal Verbs I – Would vs. Will

Would, should and could are known as auxiliary verbs or modal verbs.  They are the past tense of will, shall, and can. In this post, we will show you detailed examples of when you should use “would.”  At the bottom of the post, there are links to webpages discussing the uses of “will” versus “would.”  There are also links to quizzes.

modal verbs


Would is the past tense of will.  It can be used in many ways:

  1. To ask questions:
    Would you like to go to the movies?  (Do you want to go to the movies?)
    Would you please give me back my book now?  (Please give me back my book now.
  2. Use it with question words (who, what, when, where, why, how):
    How would you like the money, in large bills or smaller ones?
    What would you think if I applied for that job?
  3. As a polite way to ask for something:
    I would like to go to the movies, please.   (I want to go to the movies, please.)
    I would like you to pay more attention in class.   (I want you to pay more attention in class.)
  4. For hypothetical situations in the past – To show a different response if the past had been different:
    I would have called you if I had known you were finished with the meeting.  (I didn’t know that you were finished with the meeting, so I did not call.)
    I would have forgotten my appointment if you hadn’t reminded me.  (You reminded me so I did not forget the appointment.
  5. For a hypothetical situation in the future:
    Should I win the lottery, I would pay for your tuition.
  6. Indicating the future likelihood of something happening relative to a past action:
    We figured they would arrive in time for dinner and so we would be ready for them.
  7. As a nicer way to say something that otherwise may cause an argument (something that is controversial):
    I would have to say that he is not very intelligent.
  8. To show habitual or repetitive past action:
    My cat would scream whenever I would leave the house.
    She always seemed to be happy for a just a split second, then she would be really sad again.
  9. To indicate a preference  between multiple choices:
    I would sooner eat my words than admit I was wrong.
    I would rather stay home alone than go to the party with her.
  10. To show a preference when there is no other choice:
    I would do the work later if I could.
  11. To indicate a wish or desire:
    Mom wished that we would stay with her.
  12. For and intention or plan:
    Mark said he would go to the store.
  13. To express doubt:
    It would seem she went to the library.  (She probably didn’t go to the library, but rather, went somewhere else.)

Click these links to learn the differences between using will and would:






Phrasal Verbs – Writing Exercise

Below are two charts of phrasal verbs for beginners.  These are the phrasal verbs contained in Chapters 1 and 2 of the Ultimate Phrasal Verb book.  If you don’t have a copy of that book for reference, you can use this link to look up the definitions of each:

Remember, phrasal verbs can be tricky.  They can often have more than one meaning.  They may also be separable or nonseparable.  For example:

I took my shoes off.

I took off my shoes.

However, when substituting a a pronoun in place of the noun, the pronoun must be placed between the verb and the preposition/particle:

I tookthem off.

The plane took off.

The plane took off.

I took off my shoes.

I took off my shoes.


Chapter 1

Take off Put on


Ran into


Come from Figure out Give back
Look for Put on Show up

Chapter 2

Come off Doze off Fall for
Give in Hear about Pull through
Stay off Throw up

Writing Exercise Instructions:

Create a short story.  Use as many of the above phrasal verbs as possible.  Try to use other forms (tenses) of the verbs.  For example:  Take off – took off – takes off – taking off – taken off.

The topic:  A young Turkish woman went to University in the U.S. on a full scholarship from the Turkish government.  She is now flying to a poor country to work with the poor.

Below are some suggestions for your story:

  • She is helping the poor as way to do something for others because of the scholarship she received.
  • There may be a handsome gentleman on the plane.
  • She, or another passenger, may be sick.

If you would like me to review your work, please contact me at


A Cultural Divide? Expressions of Sympathy in Turkish & English

When someone dies, it is difficult to know what to say. It is even more difficult to express your sympathy in a foreign language. This blog post from Adventures In Ankara contains the Turkish and English words to say (or write) when you want to express your condolences. It also suggests a cultural difference between how the Turks use their phrase compared to American usage.

Adventures in Ankara

No matter where we are in life, we will come upon a time where we need to know the language to use to express one’s sympathy for the loss of a loved one.  We will never be prepared for death. But after a loss, we don’t want to spend time scrambling to find the right words.  So here they are in both Turkish and English.

Turkish:  Başınız sağolsun
American English pronouciation:  bah•shin•iz•sah•ol•sun

There are no other words that I know of in Turkish to express one’s sympathy.  If you, my readers, know of any, please share them in the comments.  Thank you.


  • I am sorry for your loss.
  • My condolences.
  • Please accept my deepest condolences/sympathies.
  • I am thinking of you in this time of sorrow.  (Used more in writing).
  • I will keep you (and your family) in my thoughts and prayers.

I am sure there are many…

View original post 324 more words

Three Stooges: Swingin’ the Alphabet – a lesson on pronunciation

OK, I admit it.  The video I am sharing below is not completely correct and could be misleading.  But it is sooooooo much fun!

In English, the vowels have two pronunciations each, a long sound and a short sound.  For example, the “I” in “kite” is a long sound, but the “I” in “kit” is short.  Also note that sometimes a vowel may be silent, as the “E” is in “kite.”

Some of the consonants also have two sounds.  For example, the letter “G” has a hard sound, as in the word “gas”, and soft sound more like a “J”, as in the word “genre.”  In fact, a “g” can also be silent, as in “sign.”

But still, I couldn’t miss this great opportunity to share a video from one of my all time favorites, The Three Stooges!!!  I just love these numbskulls!  Oh the memories of almost missing Church on Sunday because I wasn’t done watching the weekly Three Stooges episode.

For more information on pronunciation, try these lessons from