Verb Types: Modal Verbs-Willingness*

Verb Types: Modal Verbs-Willingness

April 4, 2019

Native English Instructor

Written by Douglas Shaw

Using these modals to express willingness or unwillingness. “Will” & “won’t” are used most often to talk about future. However, they also function to express willingness and unwillingness.

willwon’t – will not

 

Modal Verbs – Express Willingness & Unwillingness in the present.

e.g. – Will

Using “will” to say that someone is willing to do something.

  • Jim is a really good friend, he’ll always help you if you need something.

Unwillingness

e.g. – Won’t – will not

Using “won’t” is to express an unwillingness to do something.

  • My fiance’ doesn’t want to talk to me, she won’t answer her phone.

Modal Verbs – Express Willingness & Unwillingness in the past.

Using these modals to express willingness or unwillingness -“would” & “wouldn’t” are mainly used not only for conditional sentences, but can also be used to express willingness when speaking about the past.

wouldwouldn’t

Expressing Willingness

When speaking about the past, we can use “would” to express that someone was generally willing to do something.

e.g. – Would

  • My father was a really kind person, he’d always help anyone in any situation.

Expressing unwillingness

When speaking about the past, we can use “wouldn’t” to express an unwillingness to do something, both generally and on single occasions.

Note:

We don’t use “would” to speak about single occasions in the past.



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