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Used to + verb / Would + verb

  1. Use to + verb:
    Used to refers to habits or states that happened or were true at a certain moment in the past but are no longer the case today.
    • My mom used to live in Bafang, but now she lives in Douala.
      (= My mom no longer lives in Bafang)

    • I used to go swimming in the afternoon after work.
      (= I no longer go swimming in the afternoon after work)

    P.S.: When asking questions or making negative statements, the d is dropped from used to.
    • Did you use to get vegetables delivered to your door?
    • Mom didn’t use to wear make-up.

  2. Would + verb:
    Would can also refer to habitual or regular actions in the past, similarly to used to.
    e.g.: Mom used to bake cakes. My daughter would go to her house and watch.

    However, with would, the past time frame must be clear. The past time frame is often established with used to or a time expression such as when I was younger, a little girl/boy … .
    e.g.: When I was a child, we’d (read: we would) often go to my grandparents’ house.

    P.S.: Would isn’t normally used for questions about the past
N.B.: Used to can be used with stative verbs, such as have (meaning ‘own’), know, want or like, but would can’t.

Pratical Exercise: Used to + verb / Would + verb