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I used to do this, I used to do that, I used to do the other. Are you tired of always using 'used to'? Would you like to learn a different way to talk about your past habits? You would? Great, join Tim in this video to find out more.

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Stop Saying

Past habits without 'used to'

Is there another way of talking about past habits without using 'used to'? This is the question that Tim tackles in this video. In it he has to reveal some of the dark secrets of his past as well as some of his present habits, which can't all be recommended.

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Summary

Use 'would + infintive without to' to talk about repeated past actions or habits:

  • When I was at school I would play tennis every weekend.
  • I would often go to the cinema by myself when I first moved to London.
  • My dad would always bring us back a present when he went on business trips.

You can also use the simple past to describe these actions:

  • When I was at school I played tennis every weekend.
  • I often went to the cinema by myself when I first moved to London.
  • My dad always brought us back a present when he went on business trips.

Very important:

You can't use would to talk about past states. For this, used to or the simple past are the best options:

  • I would be fit when I was a teenager. WRONG
    I used to be fit when I was a teenager. CORRECT
    I was fit when I was a teenager. CORRECT

  • She would be in the football team at university. WRONG
    She used to be in the football team at university. CORRECT
    She was in the football team at university. CORRECT

To do

Now, why not try a quiz on this topic? Can you choose the best answer in each situation?

Talking about the past

5 Questions

Choose the best option to complete each sentence.

잘하셨습니다 퀴즈를 다하셨습니다
Excellent! Great job! 네 안타깝군요 이번 점수입니다:
x / y

End of session

That's the end of this unit, well done!

Many thanks to the staff and students of the Central School of English for their help with this video.

Next

Mmm, what's cooking at the White Elephant?

이번 세션 문법

  • Alternatives to 'used to'

    Use 'would + infintive without to' or the simple past to talk about repeated past actions or habits:

    • When I was at school I would play tennis every weekend.
    • would often go to the cinema by myself when I first moved to London.
    • My dad would always bring us back a present when he went on business trips.
    • When I was at school I played tennis every weekend.
    • I often went to the cinema by myself when I first moved to London.
    • My dad always brought us back a present when he went on business trips.

    Be careful - you can't use would to talk about past states. For this, use the simple past or used to.

    • would be fit when I was a teenager. WRONG
      used to be fit when I was a teenager. CORRECT
      was fit when I was a teenager. CORRECT

    • She would be in the football team at university. WRONG
      She used to be in the football team at university. CORRECT
      She was in the football team at university. CORRECT