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"would" or "used to"

 
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fw



Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 361

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 12:44 am    Post subject: "would" or "used to" Reply with quote

Which is appropriate for the blank below?

I ( ) go fishing quite often, but now I seldom do.
1. used to
2. would

The reason I ask you the question above is because a certain well-reputed dictionary published in Japan says that “would (often)” is not used for the past event when in contrast to the present event. I do not, however, find a comment of this sort anywhere else.

Give me your intuitive response to the question above, and any comment would be appreciated.

Best regards,
fw
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Lorikeet



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Posts: 1846
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 7:31 am    Post subject: Re: "would" or "used to" Reply with quote

fw wrote:
Which is appropriate for the blank below?

I ( ) go fishing quite often, but now I seldom do.
1. used to
2. would

The reason I ask you the question above is because a certain well-reputed dictionary published in Japan says that “would (often)” is not used for the past event when in contrast to the present event. I do not, however, find a comment of this sort anywhere else.

Give me your intuitive response to the question above, and any comment would be appreciated.

Best regards,
fw


Your question is interesting. I can tell you my intuitive response. In the sentence as it stands, I would use "used to." However, I could use "would" if the sentence had added context as follows:

When I was living near the ocean, I would go fishing quite often, but now I seldom do.

I could use "used to" in this sentence as well.
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aprileubanks



Joined: 19 Oct 2005
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding general conversation, I would use "used to" in this statement.

although...
"would" - by definition appears to be correct...

according to m-w.com:

3 -- used in auxiliary function to express custom or habitual action
<we would meet often for lunch>

according to dictionary.com:
8 Used to express repeated or habitual action in the past: Every morning we would walk in the garden.

Not technically speaking "Used to" is somewhat colloquial, IMHO. Wink
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kate123



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: "would" or "used to" Reply with quote

'Used to' is a marginal modal auxiliary, along with ought to, dare, and need.

Used to always takes the to-infinitive and occurs only in the past tense:
She used to attend regularly.

It is used as both an auxiliary and as a main verb:
He used not to smoke. (British English)
He didn't use to smoke. (British English and informal American English)

The normal interrogative construction is with DO support:
Did he use to drink?
He used to drink, didn't he?
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dabro



Joined: 10 Oct 2005
Posts: 117
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Would" is used more often in British English. "Used to" is the American English equivalent.
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