would

This verb is widely misused in constructions such as “If I would earn an ‘A’ in the exam, I would be happy.”

The above example expresses a hypothetical, though possible, condition and calls for the past tense, or for should or were to, in place of the verb would in the if clause.

  • Past tense: If Al had (not would have) known, he would have come.
  • Should: If you should (not would) ever be in trouble, I would help you.
  • Were to: If I were to (not would) earn an ‘A’ in the exam, I would be happy.

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