a golden glow <would race> <raced> up the walls

Makel Leki

Senior Member
Russian
From The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett. The protagonist is inside an oak occupied by dryads. He is led down the stairs in the center of the trunk, and arrives in a large hall. The entire tree is filled with a golden haze.
The background roar was louder here. Sometimes a pulsing golden glow would race up the translucent walls until it was lost in the haze overhead. Some power in the air made it vibrate.
Is there any difference between "would race up" and "raced up" here? Does "would" imply something the simple past wouldn't?
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Yes, using 'would' is one way of expressing a repeated action in the past.

    When I was young I would spend every weekend with my grandparents.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Is there any difference between "would race up" and "raced up" here?
    Yes, but, because there is "sometimes" in the sentence, it is very subtle. The meaning is similar but the nuance is quite different. The "would" implies a casual habit of racing up the walls, almost as if it had a mind of its own.
     
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