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Use of “used to” and “would”

You may have read my blog on VERB. If not please click on the link.

1. Habitual Actions in the past (both would and used to can be used)

Example:-    Would play all day as a child

                       Would go to my grandmother’s house every day.

                       Would ride my tricycle every evening

                         would not go out in dark.

2. habitual states in the past ( “would” cannot be used)

Example:-         used to live in the village

                            used to be very naughty

                           used to love my grandmother

                             used to have two cats 

                            used to believe in ghosts

This is to make you clear the use of “used to” and “would”.

Aunt Podger used to ask what was to be done with it. Then Uncle Podger used to take off his coat and begin. He used to send the maid out for six pennyworth of nails.

Both “USED TO ” and “WOULD” are used to show habitual action in the past. However, ‘would’ cannot be used to show states in the past.

However, “would” cannot be used to show states in the past.

Verbs like’play, go, ride’ are action verbs. verbs like ‘be, love, have, believe and live show states. (they are continuous, not habitual)

  1. would’ is used when we establish the past time frame before the word ‘would’appears.

For example,

When I was a child, I would watch cartoons with my dad in the evenings.

When I was a student, I would read books in the library every Friday.

2. If the time Frame is established after, “used to” can be used.

For Example

I used to watch cartoons with my dad in the evenings when I was a child.

I used to read books in the library every Friday when I was a student.

3. “would” is not used with stative verbs (verbs that describe a state of being ), such as be, understand, feel or love.

For example,

When I was a kid, I used to love playing in the park.

When I was a kid, I would love playing in the park.

We can not use “would” when we want to talk about a past state. We have to use “used to”