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"Would " & " Used to ". They both are used for repeated action in the past tense. Then what is the difference between them?

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    I don't know whether there is any difference between them. For this usage, would sounds slightly old-fashioned to me; my feeling is that used to is replacing it in AmE. Jun 22, 2015 at 23:40
  • The difference is that would is used today to form the conditional form.
    – Archa
    Jun 22, 2015 at 23:44
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    They both are used for repeated action in the past tense. But what about, say, " there used to be a river running before my house"? I don't think it means any repeated action. Rather, I think "used to" here emphasises on the difference between the past and present. I'd not say " there would be a river running before my house", in which "would" indicates repeated action in the past, and that's certainly not what I'm intending to express.
    – Vim
    Jun 23, 2015 at 0:40
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    I think the term "habits in the past" describes the use of "my grandmother would always say/ used to say..." better than repeated actions in the past.
    – rogermue
    Jun 23, 2015 at 5:37

2 Answers 2

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'Used to'and'would' are modals; though both apply to habitual action of the past,'would' carries with it a sense•• had it been so it might have been such••examples of which are there in UNCLE PODGER's absurdities. As regards use of the two,you're your best judge. Ask yourself--does it sound fine?

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I think the term "habits in the past" describes the use of "my grandmother would always say/ used to say..." better than repeated actions in the past. I think one can say "used to do" is clearer and preferred today, whereas "would do" has the patina of older and more literary language. I think "used to do" is preferred as "would" has already various uses.

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