Will Be or Would Be? What is the difference?

The only difference between will be and would be is the verb tense. Will is used when speaking of future times and would is used when you are describing the past and the hypothetical future. Both versions of the verb tense can be appropriate depending on the way it is used. 

Continue reading to learn more about the definitions of will and would, how verb tense affects sentence structure, and examples of how to use both phrases.

What Does Will Be Mean?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ‘will’ is defined as expressing the future tense. Unlike would, however, the verb will can be used to express both the future and present tense. The word will is also a modification verb that affects many other words when used conjunctively. The word will cannot, however, be used in the past tense form.

Some examples of using the word will are

  • I will buy a dog when I can afford to feed it. 
  • You will arrive at the airport this evening and I can pick you up. 
  • The new arena downtown will be opening in about 6 months. 

Definition of Would

“Would” is the past tense version of the word will. It can describe something that happened in the past. It can also describe something that was in the future at the time but is no longer in the future. Unlike the word “will”, “would” can be used as a conditional verb. This means that it can only happen if something else is met.

A few examples of different ways to use the word would are

  • I would buy a car if you learn to drive. 
  • Amy said she would stop by the store on her way home. 
  • Do you think you would change jobs if you had the option? 

Would is also used in the past to show a habitual action often with a feeling of nostalgia. It has a very similar meaning to “used to”.

  • We would play football for hours when we were children.
  • We would spend our summers by the beach. 

How to Know When to Use Each Verb

The English language can be tricky to learn and even more difficult to master. Words such as will and would are an example of tricky words, but with a simple trick to remember, even the most novice of English speakers and writers can learn when and how to use each verb.

To remember which verb tense to use, remember that will is never past tense. The word “would” can be used in either past or future tense, but the word “will” can never be used in the past tense form.