The Difference between USED TO and WOULD

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used to and would

USED TO and WOULD are used to describe events, situations or actions that happened in the past, but don’t happen anymore.

However, there is a very significant difference between USED TO and WOULD.

1. WOULD is used when we establish the past time frame before the word would appear.

For example,

  • When I was a child, I would watch cartoons with my dad in the mornings. 
  • When I was a student, I would read books in the library every Friday. 

If the time frame is established after, USED TO can be used.

For example,

  • I used to watch cartoons with my dad in the mornings, when I was a child.
  • I used to read books in the library every Friday, when I was a student. 

 

2. WOULD is not used with stative verbs (verbs that describe a state of being), such as be, understand, feel or love. 

For example,

  • When I was a kid, I used to feel happier. 
  • When I was a kid, I would feel happier. 

 

3. We cannot use WOULD when we want to talk about past state. We have to use USED TO!

For example,

  • I used to live in Chicago, when I was a kid.
  • I would live in Chicago, when I was a kid. 

So, the use of WOULD is more limited than USED TO.

Be careful when you choose which one to use. If you are really unsure, use USED TO.

Read more:
The difference between SHOULD and WOULD
How can I use ‘WILL’ or ‘WOULD’ in a sentence?
How To Use Simple Present

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