Grammar For IELTS: Used To Versus Would



Used to is followed by an infinitive. Notice the spelling in questions and negatives:

  • It used to take me over an hour to get to work.
  • Supermarkets didn’t use to be open on Sundays in Britain.
  • Did you use to get free lunch at school?

*  Don’t confuse used to + infinitive with be/get used to (+ verb -ing) which means “be/become accustomed to”:

  • I used to exercise every morning. (= I exercised every mỏning at a time in the past.)
  • He wasn’t used to living on his own. (= He wasn’t accustomed to it.)
  • We are getting used to the new technology. (= We are becoming accustomed to it.)


Both forms describe actions which happened regularly in the past but no longer happen (or vice versa) or now happen with more or less frequency:

  • Jack used to wake up early every Monday. (Now he doesn’t .)
  • We would get up early every Sunday to go to church. (We don’t now.)

To avoid confusion with other uses of would, we usually mention the past time or situation:

  • would talk him about the scholarship in the days before he passed his test.


We use “used to” to describe past states which have changed:

  • Lithuania used to be part of the Soviet Union. (It isn’t now.)
  • There didn’t use to be any crime around here in the old days. (There is now.)

* We cannot use would for past states:

  • France would be a monarchy, but now it’s a republic.  (Wrong)
  • France used to be a monarchy, but now it’s a republic. (Correct)

Hope this post could help you increase your writing also speaking skills in the IELTS Test. Don’t forget to check out our website ( to find more tips about the IELTS Test.

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