Note 1. The modal verb would is the past tense of will, but it can take on different meanings.
Note 2. Particularly in informal, spoken language, would is contracted to ’d.
Meaning 1: Past for of “will.”
The company’s CEO told the employees yesterday that the deadline would be extended.
(The company’s CEO said yesterday, “The deadline will be extended.”)
Our supervisor said we would have the weekend off.
(Our supervisor said, “You will have the weekend off.”)
Meaning 2: Result or effect of a condition; hypothetical or imagined situations.
If won the lottery, I would still work; otherwise, I’d be bored.
If the raise had not gone into effect, workers would have gone on strike.
If Jack had been chosen for the job, he would have finished by now.
He would seem to have accepted the situation, but I may be wrong.
Senator Ecks would have to be serious about fixing this issue, before he voted in favor of this piece of legislation.
(This statement has critical, sarcastic tone. The idea is that Senator Ecks is not serious about it, which explains why he will not vote in favor of the legislation.)
Meaning 3: Habitual or repetitive action or state in the past.
When I lived in Germany, I’d take short train trips every Saturday. When I liked the place I was visiting, I’d stay overnight and explore the town.
I have fond memories of my grandparents. When I was little, they would stay with us for a week every summer. They would spoil my brother and me every day. My grandmother would teach us how to bake cookies, and my grandfather would play with us outside. Sometimes we would stay up late playing board games.
Meaning 4: Polite request.
Note. This is less direct than “will,” Meaning 5.
Would you come in please.
Would you please shut the door when you leave.
Help me with these boxes, would you.
Meaning 5: Disapproval.
Only you would do that to a friend.
How would you even think about it?
Of course the governor would look the other way! He benefits personally from ignoring the problem.
Meaning 6: Advice.
Note 1. This informal usage depends highly on the context.
Note 2. With this meaning, “if I were you” is often implied in the statement.
I wouldn’t say anything. It’ll only upset everyone. (If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything…)
I’d stop playing computer games at work before I got caught. (If I were you, I’d stop playing computer games…)
It would seem wise to do what your supervisor wants.