Would and did

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Hi there,

Please teach me difference between WOULD and DID when we use it as for past tense.

examples:- once i was at store a man missed something to add on in his Grocery from store ,but remembered at the cash counter ,and cashier let him go back to store and waited untill he came and

A lady in line up told to cashier a:'' why WOULD you let him go back in store"

i was very confused why she used "would" instead of did

actually being in india i just learned "did " is used for past
But here in north america i heard alot of times people uses "would " for past tenses.

i m very confused why and when we use WOULD for past tense.

So other examples i know about wOULD (all indicates for past tense)are:--
1.once LINDA drops off in car, the moment she opens her eyes John asked her , would you fall in sleep .
2.this is from a movie. hey your car is lojacked. oh so there is some thing i would not turn on.
3.the light WON'T come Back (indiacating for last time till now)

Please please Write me in detail so i could understand for rest of my life about when do we use WOULD and when when u use DID .

  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Welcome to the WR forums, vaish. This is a very good question.

    Would can be used in a number of ways, one of which is the past tense of "will" (expressing volition, or intention), and another is to express the conditional mood (what would happen if another thing happened) and "will" expresses the future tense. In your examples all of these meanings are used.

    In your example of the lady and the cashier, the difference between "would" and "did" is that "Why did you...?" asks for reasons why something was done when it has been done, whereas "Why would you...?" is speculative, that is to say: in a hypothetical condition, why would you do such a thing if something were to happen? So the first asks for reasons why something was done, the second asks why would a certain action be taken if something was done.

    In your example about the car (as far as I understand it), "would" asks about intention or likely result in a hypothetical situation (one that has not happened).

    In your example about the movie, this is about intention or will. It is something I will not do: it is contrary to my intention, habit or preference to do this, and I will not do it in the future.

    Your example of the light ("will not"), the speaker predicts the future action of the light: the light is not going to come on, this is a prediction on the basis of knowledge about how the light functions. This simply indicates the future tense.
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