Advanced uses of WOULD in English (part 3), plus the Lake District | DailyStep English

Advanced uses of WOULD in English (part 3), plus the Lake District

This is Jane Lawson's Audio Blog #023 at DailyStep English


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

Spring is really here now in London, there is blossom on the trees and the sun is shining. It’s wonderful to have this warm weather after such an awful winter, and it has put a smile on everyone’s faces. Also, thank you all for your kind emails about my leg injury. I am feeling better now, though I still can’t walk. You can learn exactly how it happened, along with all the medical language, in next week’s level 5 audio lessons.

In this blog, I’m going to tell you a little about the Lake District, a beautiful part of England in a county called Cumbria. In the audio word study, we will learn some more ways to use the modal verb WOULD.

So, let’s start off with a trip to the Lake District.

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The Lake District

by Jane Lawson at

One of the most famous parts of the UK is up in the North West, in a county called Cumbria. It contains Britain’s largest national park, covering over 900 square miles and has some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Yes, it’s the Lake District. You can see its location in the top left hand picture.

I have just returned from a week there, on what was supposed to be a walking holiday. That’s pretty ironic, since I still can’t walk at all after my accident. But it was so lovely to be there anyway. Just to get out of the city and look at the amazing views was such a treat. You can see me with my wheelchair and crutches in the bottom right hand picture. That picture was taken by Lake Windermere, which is the largest and probably the most famous of the lakes.

My favourite place was a lake called Wastwater, which you can see in the top right hand picture. At nearly 80 metres deep, it is the deepest lake in the whole area. It is almost deserted there, with just one long road running along one side of it, and a pub and a few cottages at the end. We stopped for a drink there and I have to admit, I didn’t want to leave.

Spring time in the Lake District is especially exciting, as it is lambing season. In almost every field we passed, there were tiny newborn lambs trying out their little legs for the first time and jumping in the air. We have a saying in Britain, if you are feeling really happy and energetic, that you are full of the joys of spring. Well, these lambs seemed to embody that saying! You can see a picture of a Cumbrian sheep and her two lambs in the bottom right hand picture.

The Lake District is famous for its beauty, for its food and local ale, and also for some of its resident writers, such as Beatrix Potter, who lived there in the early 20th century and wrote her magical tales about animals. The people of the Lake District are very friendly and welcoming and they speak with a lovely northern accent, so their English sounds quite different from mine, as my accent is from the south of England. For example, they say /lʊv/ instead of /lʌv/ for ‘love’, /’kæsəl/ instead of /’kɑːsəl/ for ‘castle’, and /gɔː/ instead of /gəu/ for ‘go’. There are other differences too, but the vowel sounds are the main ones.

Let’s move on now from the beautiful Lake District, to our audio word study, where I’ll teach you some more ways to use the modal verb, WOULD.

Here is Audio Word Study #025 from Jane Lawson at

WOULD (modal verb) Part 3

In this word study, we continue looking at the meanings of WOULD. You can see the first 4 meanings and the second 4 meanings in some of my other recent audio blogs.


Meaning 9: We use ‘would’ to express an opinion in a polite way, a little indirect and therefore not forceful. We often use this in business English.

Examples: I would say we need to be cautious with this plan – it could be dangerous! (note: this means ‘In my opinion, we need to be cautious with this plan.)

I would hope we can reach agreement by the end of the day. (note: it is also correct to say ‘I hope we can reach agreement…’ but using ‘I would hope…’ sounds a bit less direct and more professional.)

This is not what I would have expected from you – you are usually very careful not to make mistakes.

I would imagine we need to consult a lawyer about this matter.

I wouldn't agree with you there. (note: this is more diplomatic than saying 'I don't agree with you there'.)


Meaning 10: We use ‘would’ to refer to something that is quite possible, or quite likely.

Examples: "The woman at the door has long, red hair." "That would be Maria, I expect."

“Someone telephoned and he had a Scottish accent.” “That would be my brother. He usually calls at this time on Thursdays.”


Meaning 11: We use ‘Why would...?’ or ‘Who would…?’ to ask about the motive for something, where we want to emphasise the fact that we don’t understand why.

Examples: Why would anyone want to steal my watch? It isn’t even worth any money! (note: this sentence does not tell us if the watch has been stolen or not. It just emphasises that we don’t understand someone’s motive for stealing it.)

I don’t understand why you would say something like that. It’s so unkind. (note: this sentence does not tell us if the person has said it or not. It just emphasises that we don’t understand the motive for saying it.)

Look at this horrible dress! Who would wear something like that?

Have you seen the price of this car? Who on earth would pay that much money for a car? (note: in this sentence, ‘Who on earth…?’ is stronger than ‘Who…?’)

That’s all for today’s word study! I will teach last few 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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