Used to

I USED TO climb trees when I was a child

People USED TO bake bread at home

As we see, USED TO expresses habits in the past. It is important to note however, that these habits do not exist in the present anymore. They existed only in the past. But USED to can also express past states:

There USED TO be a school in this place

Whis is not true anymore because there is a park or a hospital or something else where the school once was.


My grandmother would get up early every day

This word expresses a typical behaviour in the past. This behavious does not exist in the present, just like in the case of USED TO. The person stopped doing the certain thing or passed away. It is important to note that WOULD cannot be used to express past states:

There WOULD BE a school in this place

So this construction would not work. Subsequently, USED TO have a wider range of usage.

Future in the past

I knew that John WOULD be a successful businessman

I opened the window and saw that it WAS GOING TO rain

When we talk about events or actions in the past referring to future events, will becomes would and are / is going to becomes was / were going to. Since we talk about future events in the past, their grammatical change give them past aspect.

There is a difference between would and was / were going to though: would expresses past predictions and was / were going to expresses past intentions, both of them referring to the future.

Events expressed by WOULD are not certain to happen because they are only predictions but events expressed by WAS / WERE GOING TO are more certain because they are intentions.

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