Grammar 4-04 | 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

Point 1: Use the modal would to talk about activites you often did in the past, but no longer do.

(Q) As a kid on the farm, what did you do?
(A) I did a lot. 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.

Point 2: Use would to for things you did often. Use the simple past for actions you just did once.

(Q) Who did you talk to as a kid?
(A) I talked with my friends.
(A) We would talk for hours.
(N) I wouldn't say much.

Point 3: We use 'd as a contraction for would in spoken English.

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

Note: Do not use the contraction in short answers.

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

Point 4: We use used to to introduce an action we no longer do, and then switch to would for related actions.

I used to play soccer a lot. I would play from morning till night.
I used to get in trouble a lot. I would make my teacher so made.
I used to have a motorcycle. I would ride it for hours.

Answer the following questions about the interview.