would-in-the-past

Using would in the past (B1)

Using would in the past

‘used to’ and ‘would’ can both be used to talk about past actions. ‘Would’ can be used to speak about past actions as an alternative to the simple past or ‘used to’.

Both ‘would’ and ‘used to’ can be used to talk about past actions and temporary states. However we only use ‘used to’ to refer to past permanent states. For example:

  • I would walk to school everyday
  • I used to walk to school everyday

But…

  1. I used to be a receptionist
  2. I would be a receptionist

 

How to use would in the past

The form of ‘would’ when used to talk about the past is the same as its use as a modal verb.

 

Positive and negative statements:

Subject Would Infinitive Other
I would/wouldn’t walk

sing

play

work

everyday

often

occasionally

You
He/she/it
We
They

 

Question form:

Would Subject Infinitive Other
 

Would

I walk

sing

play

work

everyday?

often?

occasionally?

you
he/she/it
We
they

 

Now practice using would in the past

Fill in the blanks with the correct form; would/used to or both.

 

  1. Wewalk to school everyday but get a lift home.
  2. The teachermake us take out our homework first thing.
  3. Welive in the town center before we moved.
  4. Therebe a few places to lunch in the town.
  5. Wespend all our pocket money on fries at lunch.
  6. Ilove to have a lie in on Saturday mornings.
  7. I alsolike the television shows that were on at the weekends.
  8. If it was raining at the weekends, welie on the couch and watch television for hours.
  9. When the weather was good, Ivisit my friend or meet at the mall.
  10. Iunderstand mathematics but now I’ve forgotten it all.
Show the answers
  1. Both
  2. Both
  3. Used to
  4. Used to
  5. Both.
  6. Used to
  7. Used to
  8. Both
  9. Both
  10. Used to

 

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