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Understanding and Using Modal Verbs (#26), by Dennis Oliver

Modal Verbs #26:
Individual Modal Verbs

 

The English modal verbs are often challenging for learners
of English. This happens for many reasons, including both
grammar and meaning.

In this Hint, we'll look at more information on will.


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Will #2:
Willingness (Volition)

 

One use for the modal auxiliary will (and also for be going to)
is in showing someone's predictions about the future--things
that someone speaks or writes about before they actually happen.

Another use for will (but not be going to) is in showing
willingness or volition--being agreeable to the idea of doing
something. When
will is used in this way, it can refer to either
present or future time.


Examples:

Will you help me?

(The time in the above request may be now or future.
The speaker wants to know if another person is
willing
to help--that is, if he or she accepts the request for help.)

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I know it's your turn to cook dinner tonight, but I'll do it.
You look too tired.

(The time in the above sentence is the near future. The speaker
is showing her/his
willingness to cook dinner.)

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No, I
won't wait any longer. I have too many other things to do.

(The time is now. The speaker isn't willing to wait any longer.)


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Mom, Billy
won't let me play with his toys!.

(The time is now. The speaker says that Billy isn't willing to
let him / her play with his [Billy's] toys.)


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Special Note:

Remember that only will (or won't) can be used to show
willingness.
Be going to cannot be used to show this meaning.

 


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Next: more on modal verbs

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