I recently learnt that 'would' is used to talk about imagined or possible situations.

Let us take an example for an imagined situation:

"One day, he would become the biggest striker in the history of football."

How will the sentence be affected if we use 'will' instead of 'would' in this sentence?

  • That is not an imagined situation. An imagined situation is along the lines of: If I had a billion dollars I would buy a small island.
    – Jim
    Jun 12, 2017 at 0:25
  • The man who would be King.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 11, 2017 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


In this context, "would" is simply the past of "will".

One day, he will become the biggest striker ...

is simply a prediction: it might or might not come true, but we cannot tell at present.

In the past,

One day, he would become the biggest striker ...

is a prediction from a point in the past. The people at that point could not know whether or not it would come true; but because of our viewpoint, we might know. (We might not yet know, because it might still come to pass; but we might, for example if he has died).

  • Is it write to say: "Tomorrow is a match between the two biggest rival teams. The stadium would be completely full."
    – The NOVICE
    Jun 11, 2017 at 19:42
  • @TheNOVICE (you mean 'right') Since the tickets are probably already sold by the day before, 'will' is probably more appropriate here. It has a degree of certainty to it. Jun 11, 2017 at 19:46
  • @marcellothearcane What if I am recounting from my past experience and not from any particular statistics?
    – The NOVICE
    Jun 11, 2017 at 19:48
  • @TheNOVICE yes, I'd probably still use 'will'. Generally, I'd use 'would' if I was going to contradict it - e.g. "The stadium normally would be full, but it's pouring with rain", or similar. Jun 11, 2017 at 19:50
  • 1
    Let me give you an example: An even that has already come to pass: Donald Trump was so obnoxious, no one thought that he would become the president. An event which hasn't happened yet: Doesn't have to be a fact, because it's about the future, it will not be a fact until it becomes the past. Donald Trump will be impeached by the end of the year. Jun 11, 2017 at 22:03

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