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"Used to" - "Would"

Hello everyone, I wanted to know what's the difference between "Used to" and "Would".
It's supposed they mean the same. But the first one is used when we talk about past actions (routines) that we're not doing now anymore.
And the second one we use it in the same way but maybe that action is still repeating and it doesn't accept stative verbs like "used to". In addition, I heard "would" is used to express nostalgia. I don't understand. :/

I hope you can help me to understand this topic.
Thanks.

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    Wow, no one has given you a clear, simple answer yet.

    You already know what 'used to' means. Well, 'would' has exactly the same meaning when you're talking about the past. You can usually say either 'used to' + verb OR 'would' + verb with no difference in meaning.

    BUT there is one important rule to remember. You CANNOT use would with 'non-action' verbs. Some examples of these verbs are: like, love, hate, look, be, and have. (For a longer list see: http://www.eslgold.com/grammar/nonaction_verbs.html)

    Here are some examples:
    As a kid, I used to walk to school / I would walk to school. (both OK)
    I used to like ice cream and hate pickles. (You can't use 'would' in this sentence)
    I used to have a yellow bicycle. (You can't use 'would' in this sentence)
    I used to have pizza for lunch every day. / I would have pizza for lunch every day. (Both OK because in this sentence 'have' is an action verb that means 'eat.')

    You're right about "used to". It's something you use to describe a past action or routine of sorts that you have now stopped doing. The word "would", is quite different actually. You use "would" to describe something (anything) you will do or like to do, only if a certain condition is met. For example, "I [WOULD] go to the store [IF] I had the time."

    Doobiedicted is correct about one of the many uses of the word "would."

    However, the one you are thinking of, Avril, is much more similar to "used to."

    "When I lived in Paris, I would walk past the Eiffel Tower every morning." means the exact same thing as "When I lived in Paris, I would walk past the Eiffel Tower every morning."

    This describes something you did in the past, during the time period described. The first part of the sentence basically satisfies the conditional requirement of using "would" but makes it in the past. You should not use "would" to describe past actions like this unless you have also specified the time periods:

    "I used to pick flowers from her garden." is fine.
    "I would pick flowers from her garden." means that you want to do it in the future. If you mean to say that you used to do it, you have to provide more information: "When she was my neighbor, I would pick flowers from her garden."

     

    'Used to' and 'would' are synonyms when describing habitual actions in the past. The past simple can also be used for this purpose, but the past continuous can not be used for this purpose.

    When I was at university, I used to go to lectures but I used to fall asleep because they were so boring.

    Or:

    When I was at university, I would go to lectures but I would fall asleep because they were so boring.

    If we replace 'was' and 'were' with 'used to':

    When I used to be at university, I used to go to lectures but I used to fall asleep because they used to be so boring.

    Personally, 'was' and 'were' sound better to me, but 'used to' does not strike me as wrong.

    If we were to replace 'was' and 'were' with 'would':

    When I would be at university, I used to go to lectures but I used to fall asleep because they would be so boring.

    The first 'would' is wrong. This might be because after the temporal conjunction, not the interrogative, 'when', we don't use 'will' or 'would'.

    However, the replacement of 'were' by 'would', which is wrong, clearly shows the difference between 'would' and 'used to' here. 'Were boring' is not an action, but a state and therefore we can say that:

    Habitual actions in the past can be described with a] the Past Simple b] Used to c] would

    Habitual states in the past can be described with a] the Past Simple b] used to
    BUT NOT WOULD.

    Past Continuous does not express an habitual action in the past, as its equivalent tenses in other languages do:

    ** He was smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

    Correct: He used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day.
    He smoked 20 cigarettes a day.
    He would smoke 20 cigarettes a day.

    BTW:

    I used to go
    I didn't use to go
    Did I use to go?

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