Would, Could or Might

Would, Could or Might?

Would, Could and Might are 3 modal verbs that have a lot of crossover and similar meanings. Let’s learn about how to use them fluently.

Would

The past tense of will (for more information, see conditional sentences and reported speech)

 

Imaginary situations

What would you do if aliens invaded? (they’re not, but let’s imagine)

 

Polite requests

Would you help me with this? 

 

Polite way to say “I want”

would like a small coffee, please.

Could

The past tense of can

 

Polite requests 

Could you please help me? (more polite than can)

 

Possibility

could miss the train if I don’t leave now.

Might

The past tense of may

 

Possibility

He might miss the train (50/50 change)

Imaginary Situations

We only use “would”

would be so happy if the sun came out.

Requests

We can use both “would” or “could”. It’s the same.

Would you help me?
Could you help me?

Possibility

We can use “could” or “might”

 

 It could rain today

It might rain today.

 

When we talk about our plan or intention, it’s a bit different. 

I might help you = Maybe I will say yes. Maybe I will say no.

I could help you = I have the ability to help you

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2 thoughts on “#46 Would, Could or Might??”

  1. Hello Michael-sensei,

    Thank you very very much for answering my request. You can’t imagine how happy I was. And your lesson gave me a clearer understanding and I felt like I could use “would, could,might” more confidently than before.

    Again, thank you very much for your great lesson. I’m always looking forward to your lesson.

    P.S. I’m considering to join your online conversation class since I’m not going to my English classes at British Council because of the outbreak of corona virus in Tokyo.

    1. Hello, thanks a lot! You’re very welcome, I was happy to discuss this topic. I hope it made some sense. Sometimes grammar can be hard to cover in audio form.

      I’m quite busy at the moment, but if you can find some time I’d be really happy to tutor you with conversation classes. If you have any more questions, feel free to get in touch by email: [email protected]

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