I'm writing about a past event and I'm unsure which sentence is technically correct.

We walked on the beach


We would walk on the beach.

I'm aiming for less is best in my writing without compromising correct, UK English grammar.

Thank you so much for your help in advance!

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    Much depends on your precise context. In some contexts they're interchangeable, and in others only one or the other might be acceptable or preferred. But you haven't given any context, so the question can't be directly answered. Jul 6, 2018 at 16:20
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    "Walked" is the preterit tense. You'd say it to indicate a single past event that is complete. "Would walk" means "used to walk," something you did over and over again. "Would" could also, depending on context, be the past tense of "will," so saying that vould indicate a future action from whatever point of time in the past you are speaking of in your narrative.
    – Billy
    Jul 6, 2018 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


The difference between the two lies, unfortunately, in a concept rarely taught in American English classes. "We walked" = preterite (simple past) The preterite indicates an action that occurred in the past and has since been discontinued.

"We would walk" = conditional present This verb tense indicates an action that began in the past and is possibly ongoing at the present time.

Employing the conditional present brings a flavor of reminiscence to a story as opposed to a feeling of recitation of the facts that the simple past brings.

Edwin Ashworth stated it well; I just used more formal labels.