Using WOULD in English (part 2), plus British protests | DailyStep English

Using WOULD in English (part 2), plus British protests

This is Jane Lawson's Audio Blog #024 at DailyStep English


Hello, I’m Jane at DailyStep English and welcome to my audio blog!

It’s been a strange couple of weeks for me, because I had an accident while playing tennis, and now I can’t walk at all. It gives me an insight into the problems that some people face every day of their lives, and I guess I am lucky that my injury will get better, even if it takes a few months.

In this blog, I’m going to tell you a bit about the massive demonstration that took place in London at the weekend. In the audio word study, we will look at the next 4 meanings of the modal verb WOULD.

So, let’s start off with an article about the recent protests in London.

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Mass protests in London

by Jane Lawson at

On Saturday, there was a huge demonstration in London. There were more than 250000 people on the streets. It was the second biggest demonstration ever held in London. The largest was the anti-war march in 2003. You may have seen this recent one on the TV, perhaps you were even there. I would have been there myself, on the peaceful part of the march, but because of my injured leg, I could not go.

The demonstration was a protest against the public spending cuts that are being made by the coalition government in the UK. It was organised by the TUC, the trade Union Congress, which represents workers in mainly public sector jobs, such as teaching and nursing, but the people who protested were actually from all walks of life. The point that the people marching were trying to make is that it is those with the least who are being made to pay the most to cut the huge national deficit that was made much worse when the government had to bail out the banks during the financial crisis. The demonstrators were saying that the government is cutting too much, too soon and too indiscriminately, causing irreversible changes to British communities.

There has been an immediate cut of 25% to the budgets of many government departments and local authorities, meaning that many local facilities such as libraries and leisure centres will have to close down. The march was mostly peaceful, but there was some trouble caused on the day by groups of anarchists who smashed shop windows and sprayed graffiti. The TUC has condemned this violence, as such behaviour detracts from the main message that the marchers were trying to put across.

There was also the occupation of a famous British shop, Fortnum and Mason, by a group called UK Uncut. This group is quite new in the UK, and their simple, effective tactic is to peacefully occupy shops and banks that use tax avoidance methods to get out of paying UK taxes. For example, they have recently occupied banks and turned them into libraries for the day! This means of protest has been both effective and good natured, and now the issue of corporate tax avoidance is most definitely on the Government’s agenda.

I will write some level 5 audio lessons that will give you a good idea of both sides of the argument about spending cuts and the country’s financial problems. But for today, let’s move on from this subject to our audio word study, where we will continue to look at how to use the modal verb WOULD.


Here is Audio Word Study #024 from Jane Lawson at


WOULD (modal verb) Part 2


In this word study, we continue looking at meanings of WOULD. You can see the first 4 meanings in my last blog.

Meaning 5: 'Would' is the past of ‘will’. We use it to talk about what someone was willing to do or what something was able to do.
Examples: My daughter wouldn't get out of bed this morning.
The van would not start again today.


Meaning 6: We use ‘would’ to refer to an intention from the point of view of the past. We also use it with this meaning when we are reporting what someone else has said.
Examples: He said he would write to her every week (note: his actual words were "I will write to you every week".).
They promised that they would fix it. (note: their actual words were "We promise that we will fix it".)
I couldn’t find anyone who would help me (note: this means “I couldn’t find anyone who was willing to help me.”)
I asked her to explain, but she wouldn’t (note: this means that she refused to explain.)
Meaning 7: We use ‘would’ to talk about actions (not states) in the past that happened often or always.
Examples: Every morning, my grandmother would water her flowers. (note: we can also say “Every morning, my grandmother used to water her flowers.”)
When I was a child, we would play in the park every evening after school. (note: we can also say “When I was a child, we used to play in the park every evening after school.”)


It is incorrect to say “When I was a child we would live in the countryside”, because living is a state, not an action. It is correct to say “When I was a child we used to live in the countryside”.
Meaning 8: We use ‘would’ to suggest that what happens is expected because it is typical, especially of a person's behaviour, and also that we disapprove of it
Examples: "Philip called to say he’ll be an hour late." "He would – he’s always late!"
“I’ve lost my phone so I couldn’t call you.” “ You would! How many phones have you lost now?”


That’s all for today’s word study! I will teach other uses of WOULD in a future audio blog!

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Well, that is it for today! I’ll be in touch again soon. Thank you for your many requests about subjects you would like me to cover in my blogs. I will cover as many of them as I can!


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