The best way to talk about repeated actions in the past is to use “used to” and “would”.
It used to take me two hours to get to work (now it doesn’t any more)
I didn’t use to cry when watching sentimental films (I do now)
Did you really use to stalk your classmate?
All these sentences are about situations in the past that happened repeatedly and they don’t happen any more. Pay attention to the fact that action verbs are used in these three examples.
“Would” is synonymous to “used to” in this sense and we can rewrite the sentences using “would”. There’s a little detail to be aware of, though. Just because ‘would” has multiple grammar functions, it’s nesessary to add some context to make it clear that the situation happened in the past.
When I lived in Moscow, it would take me two hours to get to work (now it doesn’t any more)
Before I had children, I wouldn’t cry when watching sentimental films (I do now)
So back in high school, would you really stalk your classmates?
The biggest difference between “used to” and “would” is that “used to” is used with both state and action verbs, “would” is used with action verbs only.
When I was a child, I used to hang out with my friends every day. = When I was a child, I would hang out with my friends every day. (action verb)
I used to be a very anxious child (only “used to” can be used here, ‘cos “be” is a state verb)
I used to have lots of patience for him. (only “used to” can be used here, ‘cos “have” is a state verb)
This house used to belong to my family.
I used to love this game.
He used to know all the neighbours in his village.
PS Here’s a question for advanced users.
How would you change the sentence below to say it about a present habitual situation?
Every evening, my daughter and I would sit and read a couple of fairy tales, and then we would begin creating our own tale.
- Неожиданное значение Present Perfect! - 17.01.2023
- moxie/pizazz/shenanigans – Oliver speaks (Only Murders in the building) - 17.01.2023
- In Passing/Pass/Pass by - 08.01.2023