Read about using used to and would for past habits and states. Then when you are ready, try these practice exercises for used to and would.

Past habits

When you are talking about actions you did regularly in the past (but don't do now), you can use would or used to + verb.

We would go camping every summer.

We used to go camping every summer. 

I used to be scared of dogs. (used to + verb)Past states

For a state in the past (that isn't true now), you can only use used to + verb.

I would be scared of dogs. X

I used to be scared of dogs. ✓

You can read more about state and action verbs here if you can't remember the difference.

Single past actions

Used to and would are not used for single past actions, or if you say a specific, single past time. Use the past simple instead:

I used to buy a car last year. X

I would buy a car last year. X

bought a new car last year. ✓


I used to live in London in 2018. X

I lived in London in 2018. ✓

I used to live in London. ✓

How to make sentences with used to and would

Used to

Positive: She used to play football a lot

Negative: She didn't use to play football.

Question: Did she use to play football?

Note: used to (positive) and use to (negative and question) are pronounced the same.


Positive: I would play football a lot.

Negative: I wouldn't play football very often.

Question: Would you play football with your friends?

Used to do / use something to do

Used to is not the past simple of the verb 'use' - it's a totally different verb:

Yesterday, I used his toothbrush to clean the toilet. (past simple of 'use' for single past action)

I used to clean the toilet with his toothbrush when he annoyed me. ('used to + verb' for repeated past action)

Would and used to: advanced points 

1. There is no present form of used to (to talk about present habits or states) - instead, use the present simple with words like 'usually'.

We usually go camping in the summer.

2. The present form of would is will:

We'll often go camping in the summer.

 3. Used to + verb is often confused with two totally different verbs: be used to and get used to + verb-ing. Be/get used to mean 'be/become accustomed to' and can be used in any tense.

I 'm getting used to having cold showers. (it was difficult at first, but it's becoming easier)

I 'm used to having cold showers. (it was difficult at first, but I did it often and now it's ok)

 Now test yourself with these practice exercises for used to and would.