Difference Between Could and Would in English Grammar

Could vs Would in English Grammar
 

Since could and would are two words that are often confused in terms of their usage and as they are often used in English language it is necessary to know the difference between could and would in English grammar . Could is the past tense form of the verb can whereas would is the past tense form of the verb will. Under the eight parts of speech, both could and would fall under verbs. Would has its origin in the Old English word wolde. As a verb could is used to indicate possibility, annoyance because of something that has not been done, a strong inclination to do something and to make suggestions or polite requests. In the same manner would is used to give advice, to express a desire or inclination, a polite request and many more.

What does Could mean?

The word could is used differently in different circumstances. It is generally used in sentences that are expressive of requests such as:

Could you please give me his address?

Could I get your telephone number?

In both the sentences given above, you can see that the word could is used expressive of request. It is interesting to note that both the sentences end with a question mark.
The past tense form could is used to express the past tense as in the sentences given below.

He could not reach the school in time.

She could not arrive in time.

In both the sentences given above, the word could is used expressive of past tense.

What does Would mean?

On the other hand, the word would is used expressive of past tense as in the sentences:

He would not go to the school in time.

She would not listen to him.

In both the sentences, you can see that the word would is used in the past tense of will.

The word would is used in reported speech as in the following sentence.

He said that he would return in the evening.

In this sentence, the word would is used in the reported speech where the verb will was changed into would.

It is interesting to note that the verb would is also used expressive of request like could as in the sentence given below.

Would you please help me in this regard?

Would is sometimes used to express habitual action as in the sentence mentioned below.

He would wait for her every evening in the park.

Difference Between Could and Would in English Grammar

What is the difference between Could and Would?

• Could is the past tense form of the verb can whereas would is the past tense form of the verb will.

• The word could is generally used in sentences that are expressive of requests. Sometimes would is also used expressive of requests.

• The past tense form could is used to express the past tense.

• The word would is mainly used expressive of past tense.

• The word would is also used in the reported speech.

• Would is sometimes used to express habitual action.