Hi,

This maybe a stupid-sounded question, but is there a possibility that you, native speakers of English, take "would" mistakenly?

What I mean here is, "would" has many usages and sometimes I can't judge that a particular "would" is being used for "used to" or simply "past tense of will".

Here are examples: It's from Me Talk Pretty One Day

Around the first of the month, when the bills came due for the phone, gas, and electricity, Valencia (1)would have me go through the books and make a list of everyone who owed her money. (2)She'd notice, for example, that a bookstore in London had an overdue account of seventeen dollars. "Seventeen dollars! I want you to call them now and tell them to send it to me."

(3)I'd point out that the long-distance call (4)would cost more than the money she was owed, but she didn't seem to care, saying that it was the principle that bothered her. "Call them now before they have their tea."

(5) I'd then pick up the phone and pretend to dial. There was no way I could get heavy-handed and demand that an English person send me money, even if he owed it to me personally. Holding the receiver up to my mouth, (6)I'd look out across the garden and into the orderly homes of Valencia's neighbors.

1) seems like a repeated action so this should mean "used to."

2) seems like a one-time action because it says "for example" and gives the reader a very specific example, but at the same time it's one of her customs and this kind of scene obviously happens repeatedly. So, I don't know how I should take this one.

3) same as No.2

4) past tense of will

5) same as No.2

6) same as No.2

Thank you for your help,

M
In this passage, it's confusing because he's using something that happened once (a London bookstore having an overdue account) to represent something that happened repeatedly in the past (Valencia wanting people to pay the money they owed her). The answer is that it's kind of both "used to" and "past tense of will" at the same time.

Here's another example of the same effect:

A: I loved going to that restaurant as a kid.

B: Really? Why?

A: I would eat all the ice-cream.

B: Haha, didn't they have other desserts?

A: Yeah, I just meant for example. I ate other desserts too.
mitsuwao23is there a possibility that you, native speakers of English, take "would" mistakenly?
I would not put it that way! We certainly don't analyze it in the great depth that learners of English do. We don't have several different kinds of would floating around in our brains. We can only tell you what kind of would it is after we think about it for a while. And even then, the various kinds of would are all somewhat related, and they overlap with each other in meaning and usage, so sometimes a given usage of wouldis almost impossible to classify in any rigorous way. Sometimes the best you can do is try to characterize the reason for the usage in some coherent way, possibly appealing to some hybrid usage. Emotion: smile

mitsuwao231) seems like a repeated action so this should mean "used to."
Yes.

mitsuwao234) past tense of will
Yes.
______

All the others are the same, as you say. Even though specific examples are given, the author tells the story as if these things occurred repeatedly, though we know they did not. It is his way of suggesting that these sorts of things occurred repeatedly, even though these specific things only occurred once.

CJ
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Thank you, people, for taking your time to solve my question.

I've been thinking this "would" issue more than 5 years, and I think I finally understood it. Well, I'd say, I finally reached the point, I don't have to analyze it, meaing I can feel "would."[Emotion: party]

it just great.

m