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Could you tell me what's difference between the following two sets?

I used to be very shy.
I would be very shy.
When I was young, I would hide away whenever a stranger came.
When I was young, I used to hide away whenever a stranger came.

Pastel
Comments  
Hi Pastel,

'They have the same meaning, though 'would' in this usage is becoming rather formal or old-fashioned. As you may notice, 'would' is not as satisfactory is your first, short sentence, as it is in your second, where there is more context; in the first case, the reader tends to be unsure of the usage.

It is important to notice that you cannot use 'would' for some past states of being:

X 'I would have a tricycle when I was young.'

'I used to have a tricycle when I was young.' must be used.
Thanks, Mr. Micawber.

There are some sentences from Michael Swan's Practical English usage:
1) I used to word hard.
2) I used to work hard last month.
3) I worked hard last month.
4) I work hard.

Which one is considered proper structure?
According to Michael Swan, he mentioned that 'used to' refers to things that happened at an earlier stage of one's life and are now finished:there is an idea that circumstances have changed. I get lost in his words. Would you please help some more with this one?

Pastel

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
"Used to" is used for past situations that no longer exist.
I used to smoke, but I quit last year. (You no longer smoke.)
I used to collect stamps when I was a kid. (You no longer collect stamps.)
I used to love him. (You don't love him anymore.
I used to live in Mexico. ( I don't live there now.)

"Used to" expresses a habitual situation or state that existed in the past. In this case, "would" may not be used as an alternative.

I used to live in California. OK I would live in California. NOT OK
I used to be a Girl Scout. OK I would be a Girl Scout. NOT OK
I used to have a car. OK I would have a car. NOT OK
I used to be happy. OK I would be happy. NOT OK

"Would" is used only for regularly repeated actions in the past. When "would" is used to express this idea, it has the same meaning as "used to".

When I was a child, my father would read me a bedtime story. OK
When I was a child, my father used to read me a bedtime story. OK

Hope this helps a little.

Hi Pastel,

Regarding Michael Swan's sentences:

1) 'I used to work hard.' (This is the sentence Swan uses as an example of 'used to'-- a former condition which no longer applies. He no longer works hard.)

2) 'I used to work hard last month.' (This sentence you'll notice he uses as an example of what NOT to write; we don't normally use 'used to' simply to indicate a past condition.)

3) 'I worked hard last month.' (Instead, we would use this form for simple past condition. No indication of whether he still works hard)

4) 'I work hard.' (And this one is fine for general, timeless habit. It includes last month, this month, next month.)

So (1) is right for 'used to' usage, (3) and (4) are right in other situations, and (2) is unnatural, though possible in some contexts.
I'll stick to the rules that 'used to' is applied to old habit generally happen in the past, not a past time like 'last month.' If there is a specific past time in the sentence, stick to simple past.

Thank you very much, Ms. Flower and Mr. Micawber. I understand it better now. Wish you a nice weekend.

Pastel
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Answer: I am used to driving fast.

Question: What is the person used to do?
Question: What is the person used to doing?
The second one sounds weird. Which is the correct form?
Hi Pastel,

Now you have switched to the idiom 'be used to', which is different from 'used to' (habit). 'Be used to' means 'be accustomed to'.

The second question (though not a likely one in nature) is correct.

'Are you used to driving on the left side of the road?'
'Yes, I am used to that-- I have lived in Japan for 15 years.'
'What else are you used to doing?'
'I am also used to using chipsticks. I used to be used to using a knife and fork, but now I find them awkward. I guess I'll have to get used to them again when I move back to the US.'

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