Word Confusion: Wood versus Would

Posted November 10, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 13 October 2017

Who would’ve thunk this heteronymic Word Confusion pair could even be a confusion!? I guess if one is wooden-headed…

You may also want to take a look at “Might’a not be a Could’a, Would’a, Should’a” to learn how not to contract would.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Wood versus Would” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

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Wood Would
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: wood

Pile of coconut tree logs

“Gelugu in Klaten, Java” by Meursault2004 (assumed based on copyright claims) under the GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 licenses, via Wikimedia Commons

Harvested coconut wood in a pile.

A pair of seagulls picking up french fries off the ground at Granville Island in Vancouver, Canada.

“Would You Like Fries with That?” by Thomas Quine is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Adjective 1, 2; Noun 1; Verb 1, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: woods
Past tense or past participle: wooded
Present participle: wooding

Past tense of will

Verb, modal
Made of wood 1

  • Wooden

Used to store, work, or carry wood

Dwelling or growing in woods

[Archaic] Wild, as with rage or excitement 2


  • Insane

[Botany] Hard fibrous material that forms the main substance of the trunk or branches of a tree or shrub

  • Wood when cut and used as timber or fuel
  • [Golf] A golf club with a wooden or other head that is relatively broad from face to back (often with a numeral indicating the degree to which the face is angled to loft the ball)
  • [Golf] A golf shot made with a wood
  • [Construction] Lumber

[Also woods; used with a singular or plural verb] An area of land, smaller than a forest, that is covered with growing trees

[Music] A woodwind instrument

  • The section of a band or orchestra composed of woodwinds

The cask, barrel, or keg, as distinguished from the bottle

[Forestry] Firewood

  • Fuel

[Tennis, squash, badminton] The frame of a racket

One of the biased wooden bowls used in the game of bowls

[Slang] An erect penis

Verb, intransitive:
To take in or get supplies of wood (often followed by up)

Verb, transitive:
To cover or plant with trees

To supply with wood

  • Get supplies of wood for
Expressing inevitable events

Expressing a request

  • Expressing desire, consent, or willingness

Expressing facts about ability or capacity

Expressing habitual behavior

  • [Pronounced stressing] Indicating annoyance about the habitual behavior described

Expressing probability or expectation about something in the present

I just bought some wood chisels.

Sparrows, nuthatches, and titmouses are all wood birds.

A wooden gunstock has a nicer feel than the plastic ones.

Pine is a soft wood and great for starting a fire.

It was a large table made of dark, polished wood.

Only the best quality woods were used for joinery.

She had a wood cross hung over her bed.

Helen usually uses her one wood to tee off.

A well-hit fairway wood shot feels solid.

She hit a wood off the tee.

A thick hedge divided the wood from the field.

Jane and George took a long walk in the woods.

It had been well-aged in the wood.

We’re not out of the woods yet.

He hit a winning shot off the wood.

Everything is going well, knock on wood.

In Burwash, I learned to play bowls, using woods which we rolled at the jack.

Man, she gave me total wood.

Verb, intransitive:
We’ll need to wood up before the approach of winter.

“The northern cove is the most commodious for wooding and watering.” – Robert Kerr, A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 14

“The lanterns on shore began to move boatward as the last of the wooding was finished and the fuel boxes again were full.” – Clarence E. Mulford, Bring Me His Ears

Verb, transitive:
Jensen’s has the contract to wood steamboats.

You would regret it when you are older.

Come what may, I would succeed.

Accidents would happen.

Would you stop here, please.

Would you like a cognac?

It was a rock so light that it would float on water.

Your tank would hold about 26 gallons.

She would dance for hours.

He would keep on intruding.

They would be miles away by now.

Adjective: wooded, wooden, woodier, woodiest, woodless, woodsier, woodsiest
Adverb: woodenly
Noun: deadwood, driftwood, firewood, heartwood, peckerwood, plywood, sapwood, woodbine, woodblock, woodburner, woodcarving, woodchat, woodchip, woodchop, woodchuck, woodcock, woodcraft, woodcut, woodcutter, woodenness, woodgrain, woodie, woodiness, woodland, woodlander, woodlark, woodlice, woodlouse, woodlessness, woodman, woodnote, woodnymph, woodpecker, woodpigeon, woodpile, woodruff, woodrush, woodsia, woodsman, woodstove, woodsy, woodwind, woodworking, woody
Adjective: would-be
Verb: wouldest, wouldn’t, wouldst
History of the Word:
1 Old English wudu, from a Germanic word related to the Welsh gwŷdd meaning trees.

2 Before 900 Old English wōd became Middle English; cognate with Old Norse ōthr, which is akin to the German Wut meaning rage, Old English wōth meaning song.

Old English wolde, past tense of wyllan.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Firewood to Dry is Luc Viatour‘s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons, and forms a double background for the words.

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