Would, should, could (have)
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Would, could, should exercises
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Would, could, should PDF exercise 1
- Complete senetences with the present conditional:
Would you deliver this parcel?
You shoud take my car.
Would have, could have, should have PDF exercise 2
- Complete a dialogue with the past conditional:
I could have asked Susan after the dance, but I didn't.
You should have done it.
Would, could, should / have PDF exercise 3
- A multiple choice test to practise the difference.
How did Samuel learn about it?
Margaret ___ him. (could tell, could have told)
Conditional sentences exercises PDF Zero, first, second, third and mixed conditional sentences.
Online exercises with answers:
Would, could, should exercise 1 Complete sentences with verbs in brackets.
Would have, could have, should have exercise 2 Complete the dialogue (Disaster at the Disco).
Would, could, should / have exercise 3 Practise the difference between the present and past conditional in a multiple choice quiz.
Grammar rules PDF:
Would, should, could rules PDF Grammar rules on the conditional tense to download for free.
If-conditionals rules PDF Zero, first, second, third and mixed conditional sentences.
English grammar PDF All grammar rules with examples on this website.
Would, could, should, might
The modal verbs would, could, should are used to speculate about the present or future situations.
We use the present conditional tense (would + the base form of a verb) to speculate about present or future situations that could theoretically happen. It is used when the action is either impossible or when we do not think that the action will happen.
He would be here. (But he can't be here. It is not possible.)
I would travel by plane. (If I wanted to go on holiday. But I do not want to.)
In the first person singular and plural should instead of would is also possible. But it is not very common in modern English.
I would (should) be really glad. (If you could help me).
We would (should) send the fax. (But we do not know how to do it).
Should, however, can also express a recommendation or advice. In this respect, it is similar to ought to.
I should study tonight. I ought to study tonight. (Or I will fail the exam tomorrow.)
He should drive carefully. He ought to drive carefully. (Or he will crash one day.)
You should speak loudly. You ought to speak loudly. (I can't hear you.)
Could and might are the conditional tense of modal verbs can and may. They are also used to speculate about the present or future. Could indicates theoretical possibility, might indicates possibility + uncertainty.
She could come with us tomorrow. (It is possible. She will be free.)
She might come with us tomorrow. (We hope that it is possible, but we are not sure.)
Could is also the past form of can and expresses possibility, ability or permission in the past.
Possibility: She could travel in our car. (It was possible because we had a free seat for her.)
Ability: She could play again in the last match. (She was able to play because she was not ill anymore.)
Permission: She could come with us last weekend. (Her father allowed her to go.)
Would have, should have, could have, might have
We use the past conditional tense (would + have + the past participle of a verb) to speculate about the past situations which were theoretically possible, but did not happen in fact.
I would have done it. (But I didn't do it).
I would have told her. (But she didn't want to listen.)
She wouldn't have married me. (Because she didn't like me.)
She would lend me some money now. (It is possible that she will lend me some money. I will ask her.)
She would have lent me some money last year. (It was possible, but I didn't ask her.)
I would do it. Will you help me?
I would have done it. But you didn't help me.
Should, could and might are used in the same way.
You should finish it soon.
You should have finished it. Why did you give up?
We might have dinner. I am hungry.
We might have had dinner. But we didn't eat anything.
They could fly tomorrow.
They could have flown last week. But they stayed at home.
Should + have + past participle (should have finished) is used to express regrets or recommendations concerning the past.
He shouldn't have refused it. It was a good offer. (It is a pity that he refused it.)
Might (might have had) and could (could have flown) are used to speculate about the past. We say that something was possible, but we know that it did not happen.
He might / could have died. But they rescued him.
He might / could have won. But he didn't buy a lottery ticket.
In English we can also speculate with may. In this case we do not know if the action really happened or not.
He may have died. (It is possible that he died. But maybe he is still alive.)
He may have won. (It is possible that he won. But maybe he lost.)
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