Difference between Could and Would | Could vs Would

“Would you bring me a cup of tea?” or “Could you bring me a cup of coffee?” Which of these questions do you think is correct? Tough to decide, isn’t it! Most of the students believe that both these terms have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. This article will discuss whether or not these terms are interchangeable or synonymous. It is essential that students learn about the proper use of these types of easily confused words so that they avoid using them in the wrong context.

Students often think that the English Language is a tricky subject as it confuses the students with its words. Teachers have often complained that students get confused when and how to use the words ‘could’ and ‘would’. So how to make sure students understand the correct usage of the words? The following points will help you know the difference between ‘could’ and ‘would’.

Table Summarising the Difference between Could and Would




The term could is used for making requests, suggestions and indicating possibility.

The word would is used for making a request, referring to a consequence of an action, giving consent.


It is used as a Verb

It is used as a Verb.


Could you please pass me the sauce?

He would surely lose his job if the recession hit.

From the table, you can see that ‘could’ and ‘would’ can’t be synonymous or used interchangeably. To make sure that you understand the difference between these words, the detailed meaning of both the words are discussed below.

The Difference between Could and Would- Meaning

If you feel confused with the usage of the words ‘could’ and ‘would’, the simple way to remember the difference is that ‘could’ is the past form of the verb ‘can’ and ‘would’ is the past form of the word ‘will’. The term ‘could’ is used to make a request or a suggestion. Whereas the word ‘would’ is used to indicate willingness or consequence for some action or probability. It will be simpler for children to understand if they solve various ‘could’ and ‘would’ worksheets. The following examples of both these words will help students understand better.

Example of Could and Would

The examples below will be beneficial for students to understand ‘could’ and ‘would’.

Could – You could add a CCTV camera to the baby’s room. (verb)

Would – The thief would be punished soon by the law. (verb)

The examples will prove to be helpful for the students to understand that ‘could’ and ‘would’ both aren’t synonymous and interchangeable.

Could and Would – Conclusion

Summing up, the words ‘could’ and ‘would’ can’t be used in place of one another and aren’t synonymous as the former is the past form of the verb ‘can’ and the latter is the past form of the verb ‘will’. This article points out the difference between ‘could’ and ‘would’ and makes it easier for students to put them in sentences without confusion. BYJU’S offers various articles on many such ‘differences between two words’ that students often get confused with.

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