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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Talking Would for past habits

    Hi, you lot!

    I just wondered whether "would" can be used in the negative and interrogative forms when talking about past habits.

    Thanks in advance!
    Carla

  2. #2
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    Re: Would for past habits

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlaSofia View Post
    Hi, you lot!

    I just wondered whether "would" can be used in the negative and interrogative forms when talking about past habits.

    Thanks in advance!
    Carla
    Hi Carla,
    In context, I think both are possible.
    Would you travel with your father on his business trips? (A conversation about your childhood etc...)
    I wouldn't know what to say when guys asked me to dance at high school dances.

    Why we choose particular examples I'll never know!!

    Hope that helps

  3. #3
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    Re: Would for past habits

    Thanks Fiona!
    By the way, I was taught that "would" for past habits was to be used only with "action verbs". In one of your examples you used a state verb: "know".
    Is the rule that rigid after all?
    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Re: Would for past habits

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlaSofia View Post
    Thanks Fiona!
    By the way, I was taught that "would" for past habits was to be used only with "action verbs". In one of your examples you used a state verb: "know".
    Is the rule that rigid after all?
    Thanks!
    Hi Carla,
    Good questions! One of my references does say "avoid using would in questions and negative sentences as its meaning can be completely different", which is good advice, especially for beginners. Like I said, in context, obviously it is possible but to teach it might confuse students
    I think the same can be said for your second question...
    "I would know math" doesn't make any sense
    "I wouldn't know what to say [the noun clause includes "an action"] when..." is fine
    I'm not sure if you are a teacher or a learner, so it's up to you to decide whether you or your students are ready for "exceptions"
    Fiona

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