Victoria
I used to/would What is the difference between this constructions? I am rather confident when to use "used to", but I always have some doubt when to use "would". For example: 1. I used to play the piano when I was younger. 2. When I was young I would visit my grandma every summer.
Nov 2, 2018 8:02 AM
Answers · 9
Hi Victoria, We use "used to" to describe a repeated or continuous activity in the past that doesn't happen any more (now); I used to play basketball. (-I don't now, but I did play regularly before) People used to smoke on aeroplanes. (-People regularly smoked on aeroplanes before, but don't now) Would has a bigger range of uses. It is often used in polite requests and conditional phrases. "I'd like a cup of tea" "Would you like something to eat?" "If I'd studied harder, I'd be rich" (I didn't study hard, so I am not rich now) "If I'd been kinder, she would have married me" (I wasn't kind, so we didn't get married) You can see in these examples that would is often used for things that did not happen, whereas used to is used for things that did happen in the past. I hope this helps, English Chris
November 2, 2018
I presume you're talking about sentences like this, where you're looking back at a period in the past: "When I was a child I ........ spend every summer with my grandparents in the countryside." In that sentence, you could use either "used to" or "would". They are not interchangeable, however. Here's the key difference: 'Would' can only be used for repeated actions. 'Used to' can be used for both actions and states. For example, you could say "I used to have long blonde hair". You cannot use "would" in this sentence, because it is a state rather than an action. The other difference is that 'would' sounds more formal and literary. It also needs a full context. You might use it in conversation if you're trying to paint a nostalgic picture of your childhood to someone, but in most everyday contexts you wouldn't use it. As you can see, there are many situations where 'used to' can be used and where 'would' would be wrong or inappropriate. My advice would be to stick with "used to". Don't worry about "would".
November 2, 2018
November 2, 2018
'would' is related to actions/things that happen because it's related to 'will'. You know 'will' can be for habits/tendency, like 'boys will be boys' or something? 'I would get annoyed (when that happened)' or 'I would go to see my grandmother on Sundays' 'used to' is more general - something that's not done any more. :)
November 2, 2018
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Victoria
Language Skills
English, French, Italian, Russian
Learning Language
English