I sometimes lurk on "AskReddit" and when people are telling stories, they often read like this:
"After I would cook dinner for us, we would sit at the large dining room table and he would make a point to ..." (Source)
"I was told a story once about a lady who [...] painted pictures that would reflect her depression. Her paintings would sell for a lot of money." (Source)
I always wonder about the usage of "would". As I have been thought in school, would is a modal verb that indicates a subjunctive. I never heard about the usage of "would" instead of "used to" before, although for instance this site claims: "Would can be used to talk about actions that repeated in the past. It is used in the same context as used to".
So my questions are:
- Is this a regional thing or do all native speakers use this form?
- How common is this? In which context can this substitution be used?
- Does it sound colloquial or strange to native speakers?