Using WOULD to talk about past habits

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Using WOULD to talk about past habitsUsing WOULD to talk about past habits in English. On this page, will look at another way you can refer to a past habit. We have already looked at the 2 different meanings of USED TO, but let’s quickly review with some example sentences:

  • I used to smoke but I quit 3 years ago.
  • I never used to cook for myself, but recently I’ve become quite good at it!
  • Did you use to walk home from school or take the bus?

In all of the sentences above, USED TO refers to a habit in the past.

  • I would always have a cigarette first thing in the morning before I quit smoking.
  • I would always order takeaway food for dinner until I learned to cook for myself.

Both ‘would’ and ‘used to’ can be used to talk about past actions and habits. However we only use ‘used to’ to refer to past states – we don’t use WOULD for this. Here are some examples.

Past action – study:

  • I used to study every day when I was at college.
  • I would study every day when I was at college

Past state – student:

  • I used to be a student.
  • I would be a student.

 

We will look at using WOULD to talk about past habits in more detail in Level B2.

 

 


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