Grammar 4 | Low Intermediate | CEFR B1

Would - Past Tense

Listen to conversations about the past using the modal would.

Conversation 1

A: What was it like growing up on a farm?
B: It was the best. I used to have so much fun.
A: Really, what would you do?
B: I would ride horses, play with my dog, tend to animals and just have fun!
A: Sounds fun!
B: It was. Everyday I would get up early and I would be outside all day. I woudn’t go inside until dark.
A: Sounds like a great childhood.
B: It was.

Conversation 2

C: What was it like growing up in the city?
F: It was fun. I have many good memories.
C: Yeah, such as?
F: Well, my friends and I used to hang out downtown. We would sit on the sidewalk and watch the world go by. It was so fun. Sometimes, we’d get in trouble though.
C: Really, what would you do?
F: Well, we would be loud or naughty. Kids’ stuff. Nothing serious though.
C: Yeah, sounds familiar.

Conversation 3

E: What was life like in the army?
H: It was good, but it was very hard.
E: Really, how so.
H: Well, we were always busy. Every day we would get up really early. Then we would march for ten miles. After that we would do more training.
E: What would you do in the afternoon?
H: More training. Usually, we would’t stop training until late.
E: Wow! How much sleep did you get?
H: Not much. We would usually get about six hours a night. It wasn’t enough though.
E: Do you miss it?
H: Yes, sometimes.

Would - Past Tense

Use the modal would to talk about activites you often did in the past, but no longer do.

The difference between would and did is that we use would to talk about habits, or frequent actions in the past. We use did to talk about one specific time in the past.

Here are some examples.

(Q) As a kid on the farm, what would you do?
(A) I would ride horses.
(N) I wouldn't stay inside.

(Q) Where would you play?
(A) I would play in the garden.
(N) I wouldn't see anyone.

(Q) Who would you talk to?
(A) I would talk to my friends.
(N) I wouldn't say much.

(Q) When would you get up?
(A) I would wake up very early.
(N) I would never sleep in.

(Q) Would you go to town?
(A) Yes, I would sometimes.
(N) No, wouldn't usually.

Would vs Used to

Used to and would have very similar meanings. We usually start talking about past actions using used to and then switch to would to talk about related actions.

I used to play soccer a lot. I would play from morning till night. I would also play in a park near my house.

Answer the following questions about the interview.