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Thread: I used to smoke

  1. #1
    hugowolf is offline Newbie
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    Default I used to smoke

    Hello everyone,

    I have a question here, regarding structures that we use when referring to past habits and customs.
    I know that we can use 'used to + infinitive' without restrictions, that is, it can be used with both, verbs of state or with dynamic verbs (e.g. 'I used to visit my grandmother.' 'I would visit my grandmother on Saturdays.' 'I used to believe in Fther Christmas.')

    We can use 'would + infinitive' with the same meaning but only with dynamic verbs (e.g. I would visit my grandmother every Saturday.)

    I understand that verbs of state are verbs of possession, belief, etc. and dynamic verbs of action and are also verbs that can be imagined in the middle of happening.

    The point is that I read in a grammar book that we can say 'I used to smoke.' but it is not acceptable to just say 'I would smoke.' with the same meaning, unless we use an adverbial of frequency (e.g. I would smoke every time I was under a lot of stress.) but 'smoke' is an action, so why is it not possible to use would with that meaning in that case? What does it depend on? Could anyone explain? Could you give me other examples of similar cases? Would it be incorrect to just say 'I would watch cartoons.' or 'I would + any other verb' with a general meaning?

    Thank you in advance.

    Wolfrolf

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I used to smoke

    Who says you can't use would with stative verbs?

    I would live in a mansion if I had the money.
    I would own a Ferrari if they made a color I liked.
    I would smoke if it were good for my health.
    I would believe him if he wasn't wearing a clown mask.

  3. #3
    hugowolf is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: I used to smoke

    Quote Originally Posted by hugowolf View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I have a question here, regarding structures that we use when referring to past habits and customs.
    I know that we can use 'used to + infinitive' without restrictions, that is, it can be used with both, verbs of state or with dynamic verbs (e.g. 'I used to visit my grandmother.' 'I would visit my grandmother on Saturdays.' 'I used to believe in Fther Christmas.')

    We can use 'would + infinitive' with the same meaning but only with dynamic verbs (e.g. I would visit my grandmother every Saturday.)

    I understand that verbs of state are verbs of possession, belief, etc. and dynamic verbs of action and are also verbs that can be imagined in the middle of happening.

    The point is that I read in a grammar book that we can say 'I used to smoke.' but it is not acceptable to just say 'I would smoke.' with the same meaning, unless we use an adverbial of frequency (e.g. I would smoke every time I was under a lot of stress.) but 'smoke' is an action, so why is it not possible to use would with that meaning in that case? What does it depend on? Could anyone explain? Could you give me other examples of similar cases? Would it be incorrect to just say 'I would watch cartoons.' or 'I would + any other verb' with a general meaning?

    Thank you in advance.

    Wolfrolf

    Mykwyner,

    I suggest you take some time to read the post carefully. The structures I'm talking about are to talk about the past, not conditional sentences.

    Thank you for your reply, though.
    Last edited by hugowolf; 21-Mar-2007 at 02:19.

  4. #4
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I used to smoke

    Oh, sorry.

    When I was young, we would believe anyone who was older than us.
    In those days, we would own pointy shoes with Cuban heels and fast cars with open pipes, and we would live our lives like there was no tomorrow.
    We would smoke Lucky Strikes and reefers, and we would wear our hair greased back into DAs. Most of all, we would love girls with black nylons and pink ribbons.

    Is that the usage of would plus the bare infinitive form of stative verbs in the past tense that you were wondering about?

  5. #5
    hugowolf is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: I used to smoke

    Thank you.

  6. #6
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I used to smoke

    You're very welcome.

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