Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age

Will / Would


"Will" suggests strong probability or future likelihood. "Would" implies the same, but is typically used when the probability is more hypothetical.

Eventually these sediments will be deposited on a sea floor. ("Will" expresses strong probability and future likelihood.)

At still higher temperatures, the radiation would probably become stronger. ("Would" suggests hypothetical probability.)

Be especially careful not to overuse "will" and "would," in particular when affirming facts. Some writers habitually compose sentences such as "A comparison of MWD logs and wire line logs would be difficult because they will operate in different environments." In a revised version of this sentence, the writer should eliminate "will" and "would," simply affirming the fact that she knows to be true: "A comparison of MWD logs and wire line logs is difficult because they operate in different environments."