Learn how to use would to talk about past habits and review the form used to
- Language level: upper intermediate & advanced / B2, C1
- Focus: advanced English grammar: past habits
- Time: 5-10 mins
Can you catch Elisa using 'would'?
We all know ‘would‘ is a complex verb and can be used for many things, such as in a conditional sentence or as a modal verb … but did you know we can also use it to talk about past habits, especially when we reminisce?!
Past habits: past simple, used to and would
Read the extract below. Did you catch Elisa saying used to and would?
- The past simple is used to describe states and habits in the past:
- when I was a young girl
- I already knew what I liked
We use used to + infinitive to refer to regular repeated actions rather than a specific point or period in time
- I always used to argue with my mum over outfits! (not I argued with my mum)
- I went to France last year (not I used to go to France last year)
- This restaurant used to be a cinema.
- I used to work 14 hours a day, but now I only work 8.
- Yeah, ‘cause, she would pull out all these really girly clothes
- Yeah, ‘cause, she used to pull out all these really girly clothes
- Exactly! And I would be like, ‘No mum!
- Exactly! And I used to say, ‘No mum!
- We used to live in Edinburgh (right!)
- We would live in Edinburgh (wrong!)
- I used to like romantic comedies (right!)
- I would like romantic comedies (wrong!)
Further notes: advanced grammar 'would' & 'used to'
Look at these sentences based on the interview with Sir Bobby Charlton from our course Exploring Natural Speech: Regional Accents & Pronunciation
- I remember when I used to go and watch Newcastle United playing.
- Footballers didn’t use to get paid very much, not like today
- You would go home, and you would do a little bit of some recreation … and you’d play the game on a Saturday
- I never used to get up early on a Sunday.
- I always used to sleep in.
- I would never get up early on a Sunday.
- I’d always sleep in.
Advanced English courses you might like to do!
Want to break through the grammar barrier? This course is for you if you want to improve your grammar through meaningful practice that will also help you work on your comprehension and pronunciation skills.