When I was ten years old I <would, used to> play football every day.

Paulfromitaly

MODerator
Italian
Hello everybody, I need some clarification.
First question:
I'll have You driving a lorry in a month.
I'll have You drive a lorry in a month.
Which one is correct? both? Is one of them more formal and the other one more colloquial?
Second question:

When I was ten years old I used to play football every day.
When I was ten years old I would play football every day.
Which is the difference in use between this two ways of expressing a past routine ?
Thanks
 
  • nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    In the former, the implication is that you no longer play football, or that you stopped shortly after that time.

    In the latter, the implication is that you still play football, or that you continued to play for a while (some years) after that time.

    This is a subtle difference which many listeners may interpret differently, or not at all.

    Otherwise, they are identical.
     

    StephelCA

    New Member
    English/Canada
    Either form, though, is wordier than it needs to be. "When I was ten years old I played football every day" is sufficient.
     

    StephelCA

    New Member
    English/Canada
    Hi Paul from Italy,

    I'm new here, so maybe I got the tone of my response wrong (?) -- I read the original two sentences as identical in meaning, and perfectly okay in ordinary colloquial speech, but (wink) needing editing for publication.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would say any of the three, although the "would play football every day" sounds a touch more American than the others. I hear Americans using would for the imperfect tense more often than I hear it in BE.

    But I would agree with both NYC and Steph. It's not something to worry about too much.

    Can I just say that in English it's not necessary to use a capital "y" for "you" unless it's at the beginning of a sentence (or referring to God!). I don't know whether it was a mistake on your part or if you were using a capital letter deliberately, but I just thought I would point it out.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    nycphotography said:
    In the latter, the implication is that you still play football, or that you continued to play for a while (some years) after that time.
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding something - but how does "when I was ten years old I would play football every day" imply that I still play football? :confused: I don't think it says anything about whether I still play football.

    An explanation would be appreciated.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Paulfromitaly said:
    Hello everybody, I need some clarification.
    First question:
    I'll have You driving a lorry in a month.
    I'll have You drive a lorry in a month.
    Which one is correct? both? Is one of them more formal and the other one more colloquial?
    Second question:

    When I was ten years old I used to play football every day.
    When I was ten years old I would play football every day.
    Which is the difference in use between this two ways of expressing a past routine ?
    Thanks
    To me they are synonymous, but the "would" one a bit more formal. In speech I think I would use "used to" for the past, personally.
     
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