Grammar For IELTS: Used To Versus Would

grammar for ielts 1


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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Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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