In a previous grammar lesson, you learned how to use used to to talk about things you did in the past but you don’t do now.
In the listening lesson “53 Years Together!”, I talked about things my parents did when they were dating. I said …
They would go on dates to the movies or to parties and dances, and sometimes they would double date with my uncle and his girlfriend.
In English, the modal verb would can also be used to talk about things that happened regularly or things you did regularly in the past. Specifically, would is used to talk about repeated activities, habits or events in the past.
Would can be use the same way as used to EXCEPT would is NOT used to talk about past states:
I used to smoke, but I quit last year.
I would smoke, but I quit last year.
She used to have a cat.
I would have a cat.
He used to have long hair.
He would have long hair.
*Don’t worry if you can’t understand the subtle difference between used to and would right now! This is an advanced grammar point and it usually takes English learners awhile and a lot of practice to understand when to use would this way.
When I was young, I would lock myself in my room and play the guitar for hours.
When I was young, I used to lock myself in my room and play the guitar for hours.
He would go out to bars and drink every weekend when he was in university.
He used to go out to bars and drink every weekend when he was in university.
Before we went to bed on Christmas Eve, my sister and I would put out cookies and milk for Santa!
Before we went to bed on Christmas Eve, my sister and I used to put out cookies and milk for Santa!
Whenever she was sad as a teenager, she would listen to depressing music.
Whenever she was sad as a teenager, she used to listen to depressing music.
Every fall, just after school started, my family would go to the apple farm and pick apples right off the trees!
Every fall, just after school started, my family used to go to the apple farm and pick apples right off the trees!