Speak About:



Past to Present


Abilities - Responsibilities

Asking Questions

Choosing the Right Phrase

Combining Verbs

Explaining Ideas

Describing Your World

Complex Ideas

Relating Ideas, People, Objects

Speaking about Objects

Wondering about Situations

What I Used to Do

Past Habits

Used to

'Used to' expresses the idea that something we did regularly in the past is no longer true. It is generally used in the positive form to discuss past habits and routines that we no longer have. 'Used to' can also express a state that is no longer true. 'Used to' is conjugated in the simple past tense, make sure to use the infinitive form in questions and negatives.


Our company used to do trading in the futures market but gave it up because it was not profitable.

Frank used to work with liquid assets.


Didn't they use to talk about a set closing date?

Did the box use to have an expiration date?


'Would do' refers to habitual past actions as well. It is more formal than 'used to'. The use of 'would' in questions and negative sentences can easily be misunderstood in a conditional sense, and should therefore be avoided.


Charles would always calculate the start-up costs, when starting a new venture.

Alex would telephone when he had a problem with start-up costs.

Difference Between 'Used to' and 'Would'

'Used to' can refer to a state or ability as well as habits or routines.


Frank used to work with liquid assets.

'Would' refers only to past actions.


The sawmill would often neglect to do comparative pricing on raw materials.