I have read in http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/would-never-or-would-entirely-avoid.3250069/#post-16454853 that we use would for The regular habit/practice. The website says as follows:

Would is also used to indicate a habit A: "Look what you have written here, "If you want to see mountains and beautiful valleys, go to nepal." B: "What is wrong with that?" A: "I would never write "Nepal" without a capital letter." -> Here the would indicates a habit or regular practice. " My/The regular practice is never to write "Nepal" without a capital letter."

Do we really use would to mean The regular practice/habit( Which started in past and continues to present ? If yes, why this use and meaning of "would" hasn't been listed in any grammar books or dictionaries ?

I have checked even in http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/would But couldn't find it.

  • Yubraj I already pointed out there what the meaning of would in that sentence is. I have looked up Cambridge online dictionary, and found this definition: used to talk about what someone was willing to do or what something was able to do. There are lots of definition for a particular word, and you have to look that up in the dictionary. This question is off-topic. Nov 9, 2016 at 16:04
  • @MAN from india I've read that but it is saying 'was' willing to do, was able to', here, 'was' indicates the past willingness. But, in my question it talks about 'past+present' habit/practice
    – yubraj
    Nov 9, 2016 at 16:11
  • From the same dictionary. This meaning, then, used to express anopinion in a polite way without being forceful. Nov 9, 2016 at 16:16
  • I have asked this question after reading all those meanings and uses from the dictionery. But, None of the meanings or usage match with The meaning of would described in the wordreference website, please read the thread too
    – yubraj
    Nov 9, 2016 at 16:22
  • 1
    Would doesn't literally mean "a regular practice or habit", it's just used to indicate that the speaker would do (or not do) something, which suggests a regular practice or habit. That's why you're not finding any dictionary definition that says it. Dictionaries can give you definitions of words, but they cannot give you every possible way in which a word might ever be used.
    – stangdon
    Nov 9, 2016 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


I guess that "to indicate a regular or habitual practice" could be an interpretation of the use of "would" in this sentence. But I think it's just an extension of the normal hypothetical use:

[If I were to write it] I would never write "Nepal" without a capital letter.

We can use the hypothetical to talk about anything, including things that are perfectly ordinary. Examples:

I would never head out of the house without eating breakfast.

She would never wear those shoes with that blouse.

They would always look both ways before crossing the street.

  • @Andraw Do you mean the interpretation of would as 'The regular habit/practice (which started in the past and continues to present) given by the website is wrong ?
    – yubraj
    Nov 10, 2016 at 9:18
  • Could you please respond me ?
    – yubraj
    Nov 10, 2016 at 12:18
  • @yubrajsharma As you are aware, the Earth has time zones and while you may be awake, for others it's the middle of the night. As good as I am, I'm not able to answer your questions while asleep. Anyway I don't think it's wrong as much as one interpretation of a hypothetical question. Surely you have similar structures in your native language?
    – Andrew
    Nov 10, 2016 at 16:56
  • Umm...Nods..I understand it. By the way, The website defines "would" as regular habit/practice" ( started in past and continues to present) But you said "would" has been used as hypothetical sense, so, which should believe?
    – yubraj
    Nov 10, 2016 at 17:10
  • @yubrajsharma It doesn't matter which is "right" or "wrong". I think you're losing sight of your goal, which I assume is to get better in English. That means learning to use these structures in a natural way, and not just according to some book definition. I've given some examples of how and when you can use "would" in this way -- the rest will require you to listen to a lot of native speakers and mirror what they do.
    – Andrew
    Nov 10, 2016 at 17:14

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