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Thread: would

  1. #1
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Default would

    Hi,

    *the past, not conditional sentences.* would = used to

    It is written that we can't use the verb 'be' when using 'would' instead of 'used to'.

    For example: I used to be an administrative assistant. (That's ok)

    I would be an administrative assistant. (That's not ok)

    I would like to learn whether we can use 'be' in every case or not.

    When I was a child my mom would be angry at me.

    Is that ok? If it is ok or not, please could you give me some examples how to use?

    Thanks...
    Last edited by aysaa; 05-Feb-2012 at 22:44.

  2. #2
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: would

    Please any answer?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: would

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Please any answer?
    Please don't be impatient. It's less than an hour since you posted your question, and many of the people who voluntarily give up their time to respond may well be in bed.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  4. #4
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: would

    Sorry...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: would

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Hi,

    *the past, not conditional sentences.* would = used to

    It is written that we can't use the verb 'be' when using 'would' instead of 'used to'. That's true, we can't, because "would" can only refer to habitual actions in the past, so only "used to" can be used in sentences with "be" (state).

    For example: I used to be an administrative assistant. (That's ok)

    I would be an administrative assistant. (That's not ok) You're right, that's incorrect. It should be "used to" instead of "would".

    I would like to learn whether we can use 'be' in every case or not.

    When I was a child my mom would be angry at me. That's incorrect because, as I said, "would" refers to habits and being angry is a state, so "used to" is a correct option.

    Is that ok? If it is ok or not, please could you give me some examples how to use?

    Would = habits
    I would buy fresh milk every morning. (but I don't do that any more)

    Used to = states and habits
    I used to live in New York. (but I don't anymore)

    I used to buy fresh milk every morning.

    To sum up, we don't use "would" when we talk about states in the past.

    Thanks...
    Not a teacher.

  6. #6
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: would

    Thanks for all the answers... But I have a little more questions about it.

    1) Can we use 'used to' and 'would' with any specific time also such as in 2000, 5 hours ago,...etc?

    For example: In 1999, I always used to go to cinema, but now I like theatre.

    When I was a child I always used to get up at 5 pm.

    I used to be a student at that school five years ago.

    2)used to smoke

    I have seen that in some websites we can't use 'would smoke'. ( I couldn't understand that because it is not a stative verbs)

    I would smoke every time I was under a lot of stress.

    3) We usually use 'used to' to talk about important past habits. (I couldn't understand that... )

    Sparky used to brush his teeth every night. (That's ok)
    Sparky would brush his teeth every night.

    4) People would use sun-dried bricks to build houses, but now they use red bricks. (It is incorrect...It is not a habit so we can't use 'would', is that right?)

    5) Sparky would have parties on weekends. Now, he still does. (Is it ok?)

    6) Passive with would

    The pies would be made by my mother.( Passive ) (Is it ok?)
    Last edited by aysaa; 06-Feb-2012 at 01:21.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: would

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Thanks for all the answers... But I have a little more questions about it.

    1) Can we use 'used to' and 'would' with any specific time also such as in 2000, 5 hours ago,...etc? It depends on the sentence, but it's possible.

    For example: In 1999, I always used to go to cinema, but now I like theatre.

    When I was a child I always used to get up at 5 pm.

    I used to be a student at that school five years ago.

    2)used to smoke

    I have seen that in some websites we can't use 'would smoke'. ( I couldn't understand that because it is not a stative verbs) No, it's not a stative verb, it expresses habit, so we can say "would smoke".

    I would smoke every time I was under a lot of stress. Do you see? We can. What is important here is that "would" is combined with "every time" which idicates that it was a habitual action in the past.

    3) We usually use 'used to' to talk about important past habits. (I couldn't understand that... ) What is it that you don't understand? "Used to" can be used for both past habits and states.

    Sparky used to brush his teeth every night. (That's ok)
    Sparky would brush his teeth every night.

    4) People would use sun-dried bricks to build houses, but now they use red bricks.

    5) Sparky would have parties on weekends. Now, he still does.

    6) Passive with would

    The pies would be made by my mother. ( Passive ) All of those senteces are correct.
    Not a teacher.

  8. #8
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: would

    Number 5 is so important for me.

    Sparky would have parties on weekends. Now, he still does / But now, he doesn't. (It depends on whether he has it or not)

    vs

    Sparky used to have parties on weekends, but now he doesn't. (We can't say 'now, he still does' is that right?)

    What I have understood is we can use 'would' instead of 'used to' even if we have that action/habit still now, is that right?
    Last edited by aysaa; 06-Feb-2012 at 01:42.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: would

    In 1999, I always used to go to the cinema, but now I like the theatre.
    Not natural. We do not use ‘used’ to with specific times in the past, though we can use it with more general times, such as ‘when I was a child’.

    I used to be a student at that school five years ago.
    See note above. You may hear this in speech, when the time is mentioned almost as an afterthought.

    Sparky wouldhave parties on weekends. Now, he still does.
    The first sentence is natural only in the right context, not as a stand-alone utterance. “During his time at university, Sparky would have parties on weekends’.
    The ‘Now’ in the second sentence implies contrast, so is not appropriate with ‘still’, which implies continuation.

    As a single utterance, we’ use ‘used to’, but we could not follow that with ‘Now, he still does’ ‘Used to’ can be used only of an activity that no longer occurs – or one that stopped for some time. ‘Still’ is not possible, because it suggest that there was no break. We could say ‘He has started to have them on Saturdays again recently’.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  10. #10
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: would

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Hi,

    *the past, not conditional sentences.* would = used to

    It is written that we can't use the verb 'be' when using 'would' instead of 'used to'.
    Actually, something of an oversimplification. It is quite possible to use the verb 'be' when (as it occasionally does when accompanied by certain adjectives denoting a form of temporary behaviour) it is dynamic, e.g.

    My little brother would always be silly and show off when people came round.

    (Cf. He is being silly now.)

    In the case of your cited sentence, or at least of very similar

    Whenever I had forgotten to tidy my room, my mother would always be angry with me the next day, .

    I would rate it equally acceptable, since, even though most speakers probably would not accept

    *She is being angry.

    the anger is nevertheless viewed as an habitual/recurrent state, and, as such qualifies for use with 'would'.

    The key point in determining acceptability in such cases is actually habituality rather than pure verbal stativity/dynamicity. 'Used to do', on the other hand, covers both habituality and discontinued past states.

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