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In my language there are two types (among others) of past:
1. the one that happened once, like "I had lunch at McDonald's yesterday".
2. the one that shows repeated actions in the past

In the first one you use simple past, but in the second one...
1) Do you use would+infinitive? I would stare out my window. (repeated actions in the past)
2) Or you use simple past? I stared out my window. (in this case, repeated actions in the past and not something that happened once in the past)
3) Or you use both - are they interchangeable?
4) Or you can use both, but in different situations - in this case, how do I decide which one to use?

Thank you in advance.
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Comments  (Page 2) 
I think in BrE, for the first case, you would tend to use the present perfect:

1. "How's dinner coming along?" "Well, I've chopped the onions..."

But a similar pair could be generated:

2. "Who did the cooking last night?" "Well, I chopped the onions, and Scarlett ground the cardamoms..." = "Well, I chopped the onions last night..."

3. "Who did the cooking, in those days, when you had people round?" "Well, I chopped the onions, and Scarlett ground the cardamoms..." = "Well, I would chop the onions..."

(They were a one-recipe household.)

MrP
I think in BrE, for the first case, you would tend to use the present perfect
I think so too, but you'd know better than I on that score.

They were a one-recipe household.
So are we, but our servants do all the cardamom grinding.

CJ
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