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Used to / would (past habit)

( Free Online English Grammar Lessons )

Read time : 3 minutes

Form : ( Used to + infinitive (verb 1) )

In English we use 'used to' to talk about past habits, repeated actions and states that are now finished. 

The table below shows the different forms of used to + infinitive :

Example verb : goI / You / We / They / He / She / It
Positive...  used to go ...
Negative... didn't use to go ...
QuestionsDid ... use to go ...?
Short answers

Yes, ... did. /

No, ... didn't.

Used to + Infinitive Example Sentences :

Positive Examples of Used to + Infinitive :

  • I used to have a dog when I was a child.
  • I used to play football every weekend but I don't have time now.
  • I used to learn the piano but I don't any more.
  • We used to swim in the river when we visited our cousins. 

Negative Examples of Used to + Infinitive :

  • I didn't use to like coffee, but I do now.
  • I didn't use to do my homework, but I do now.
  • I didn't use to like cats, but I do now.
  • I didn't use to like sport at school.

Question Examples of Used to + Infinitive :

  • Did you use to go swimming everyday when you lived near the beach?
  • Did you use to go to nightclubs when you were younger?
  • Where did you use to live when you were a child?
  • Which subjects did you use to like at school?

Notes for use of used to + infinitive :

In English we can only use used to to talk about the past! When we want to talk about the present, we use 'usually' + present simple.

eg. PAST: I used to get up early. (but I don't now)

PRESENT: I usually get up early. (I get up early now)

In English we can also make negative sentences with 'never used to'.

eg. She never used to cook before she was married. 

Form : ( Would + infinitive (verb 1) )

In English we can also use would + infinitive to talk about past habits and repeated actions but we don't use this verb with state verbs.

The table below shows the different forms of would + infinitive :

Example verb : playI / You / We / They / He / She / It
Positive...'d play ...
Negative... wouldn't play ...
QuestionsWould ... play ...?
Short answers

Yes, ... would. /

No, ... wouldn't.

Would + Infinitive Example Sentences :

Positive Examples of Would + Infinitive :

  • When I was a teenager, I'd go fishing with my friends every weekend.
  • When we visited my grandparents' house, I'd play in the garden.
  • In our childhood, we'd ride our bikes around the neighbourhood.
  • Before he retired, he would always get the bus to work.

Negative Examples of Would + Infinitive :

  • When I lived in Chicago, I wouldn't travel around the city at night alone.
  • As a child, I wouldn't eat many vegetables.
  • When he worked in London, he wouldn't get home until 10pm every night.

Question Examples of Would + Infinitive :

  • When you lived in Australia, would you go to the beach everyday?
  • When you played the piano, would you practise a lot?
  • As a universıty student, would you study all the time?


Notes for use of would + infinitive :

In English we don't use 'used to + infinitive' or 'would + infinitive' for something that only happened once.

  • I moved to London in 2009. NOT I used to / would move to London in 2009.

In English we often start describing past habits with used to and continue with would + infinitive.

  • I used to get up at 6am, then I'd buy breakfast at the cafe downstairs. After that, I'd eat it on the ferry on my way to work.


Be going to
Be going to passive
Be used to / Get used to
Comparative
Defining relative clause
Echo tag
Expression
First conditional
Future
Future continuous
Future perfect continuous
Future perfect passive
Future perfect simple
Future simple passive
Greeting
Have/Get something done
Imperative
Implied conditional
Indirect question
Infinitive of purpose
Interjection
Mixed conditional
Modal
Modal passive
Non-defining relative clause
Other
Past continuous
Past continuous passive
Past perfect continuous
Past perfect passive
Past perfect simple
Past simple
Past simple passive
Polite request / offer / suggestion
Present continuous
Present continuous passive
Present perfect continuous
Present perfect passive
Present perfect simple
Present simple
Present simple passive
Question tag
Reduced relative clause
Reported speech imperative
Reported speech question
Reported speech request
Reported speech statement
Second conditional
Short answer
Superlative
Third conditional
Used to / would (past habit)
Was/were going to
Was/were supposed to
Wish
Would rather
Zero conditional