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I was in England and I heard that some people use word "will" as non auxiliary verb, in meaning "wish". Have I misheard? If it is true, in which cases can I use "will" as non auxiliary verb?

  • Yes, you can. Keep in mind, however, that the past tense is then willed, not would. An idiom that contains this non-auxiliary usage is to will (something) into existence. Keep in mind that it does not mean wish; to wish for something is to cry into the wind for it, so to speak, whereas to will something is to make it happen by your own ingenuity. – Anonym Jul 29 '14 at 19:06
  • Wow! It's really interesting! But I don't understand the meaning of "to will (something) into existence"? Can you explain or give more examples? Thank you. – Kristina Kurshakova Jul 29 '14 at 19:23
  • To will (something) into existence is usually used sarcastically, to say that more thought than action is being put into something: e.g. he's trying to will his fortune into existence. – Anonym Jul 29 '14 at 19:29
  • @kris - please refer to a good dictionary for the use and definition of will as a verb, the following can help: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/will – user66974 Jul 29 '14 at 19:42
  • Kris, I asked a question about will which might help explain the difference (or confuse you even more!) – Mynamite Jul 29 '14 at 20:10
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Will has two distinct meanings as a transitive (non-modal, non-auxiliary) verb. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists one, but not the other. I found the other in the British version of Cambridge Dictionaries Online (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/british/will_10), although from my experience the meaning is as common in American English as in British English. Here is the dictionary's definition:

will verb (MAKE HAPPEN) /wɪl/ › [+ obj + to infinitive ] If you will something to happen , you try to make it happen by the power of your thoughts : She willed her self to remember his name .

› [I or T] formal to want something: Stay or go, as you will.

These are the two meanings in which you can use 'will' as a non-auxiliary verb (the second use being the same one as mentioned in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

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Merriam-Webster has it as the first-mentioned use:

transitive verb : desire, wish

That said, it is obviously most often used as an auxiliary verb.

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