Saturday 13 July 2013

AAE Q161: 'would' and 'used to'


What is the difference between would and used to?


Hi Sanjay

The difference between 'would' and 'used to'

  • 'would' is used to describe actions or situations that were repeated again and again.
  • 'used to' is used for any extended action or situation in the past including repeated actions or situations.
Here are some examples

1 - "I used to live in Birmingham, but I moved to Prague last year."

Can we use 'would' instead of 'used to' here? No, because 'living in Birmingham' wasn't repeated again and again. It's simply a situation in the past. Therefore, only 'used to' is good in this sentence.

2 - " When he was at school, he used to play tennis every Saturday."

Here, we're talking about 'playing football every Saturday'. This is an action that was repeated many times, so we can also say: "When he was at school, he would play tennis every Saturday".'Used to' and 'would' are both good here, and the meaning is the same.

Hope this helps


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