Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Georgia
      • Current Location:
      • Georgia

    • Join Date: Nov 2018
    • Posts: 798
    #1

    Would or used to?

    Hello.

    I read that ''would'' and ''will'' are used to describe typical behaviour, often in the sense of what is habitual or regular. For example, ''Sometimes he would bring me little presents without saying why.'' But in the same book (M. Swan's Practical English Usage) I read ''we use ''used to'' not ''would'' to talk about regular and important habitual behaviour.'' For example, ''Robert used to play a lot of football''. The book says ''Robert would play'' is wrong. Didn't it say ''would'' is also used to talk about habitual behavior?

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 18,412
    #2

    Re: Would or used to?

    We use "used to" to talk about things a person did in the past but doesn't do anymore. As for "would," we've had a hundred threads on that subject.
    Not a professional teacher

  3. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Georgia
      • Current Location:
      • Georgia

    • Join Date: Nov 2018
    • Posts: 798
    #3

    Re: Would or used to?

    I know there are hundreds of threads about it. The book confused me. First it says would is used to talk about habitual actions then in another rule I read it is not used that way.

  4. Moderator
    Retired English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 29,069
    #4

    Re: Would or used to?

    When in doubt, stick to 'used to'. It's far more common and almost always the better choice in most contexts.

    One important difference between 'used to' and 'would' is that 'would' can only be used with past habits not past states:

    Correct: I used to own a Porsche before my company went bankrupt.
    Not Correct: I would own a Porsche before my company went bankrupt.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 05-Dec-2019 at 23:02.

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 18,412
    #5

    Re: Would or used to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    I know there are hundreds of threads about it.
    I didn't say hundreds. You can accuse me of hyperbole, but not to that extent.
    Not a professional teacher

  6. kilroy65's Avatar
    Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria

    • Join Date: Jan 2016
    • Posts: 232
    #6

    Re: Would or used to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rachel Adams View Post
    ''Robert used to play a lot of football''. The book says ''Robert would play'' is wrong. Didn't it say ''would'' is also used to talk about habitual behavior?
    Unlike "used to" which implies "but no longer", the modal verb "would" has a number of uses. If you want to use it to talk about habitual/repeated actions in the past, you need to establish a time frame in the past.

    When Robert was a child
    , he would play football with his friends every day.
    Last edited by kilroy65; 06-Dec-2019 at 08:10. Reason: typo

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 18,412
    #7

    Lightbulb Re: Would or used to?

    Quote Originally Posted by kilroy65 View Post
    Unlike "used to" which implies "but no longer", the modal verb "would" has a number of uses. If you want to use it to talk about habitual/repeated actions in the past, you need to establish a time frame in the past.

    When Robert was a child
    , he would play football with his friends every day.
    Gosh, Kilroy, you're good. That was excellent!


    (This way maybe Rachel will read it twice.)
    Not a professional teacher

  8. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Georgia
      • Current Location:
      • Georgia

    • Join Date: Nov 2018
    • Posts: 798
    #8

    Re: Would or used to?

    Oh thanks a lot, Kilroy! The book doesn't say anything about using a time frame. Now I undertand why their example '' Robert would play'' is wrong.

  9. Senior Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Sep 2013
    • Posts: 794
    #9

    Re: Would or used to?

    "Robert would play" is wrong (M.Swan) ?? Context, Context, Context.

  10. Senior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Georgia
      • Current Location:
      • Georgia

    • Join Date: Nov 2018
    • Posts: 798
    #10

    Re: Would or used to?

    The book gives this example. ''Robert used to play a lot of football''. (Not Robert would play....) No context. Just this example.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 Last

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •