diciembre 2019
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Present & old habits

¤   Past simple for past habits & states :

The past simple is used to express habits and states that existed during a period of time in the past. This period can be implied or expressed with a time expression or a clause:

When I was a child, I visited my grandma every weekend.    (habit)
When my brother was young, he liked spinach.      (state)
Where did you go to primary school?
   (habit, where the implied period of time is when you went to primary school)

∞   ‘Used to …’  vs  ‘Be/Get used to …’  ↓   ⇒[Quiz 1]⇐  /  ⇒[Quiz 2]⇐

◊→  «I USED TO…» vs «…WOULD»

There are three situations in which we use ‘used to’. In two of these three situations, it is possible to use ‘would’ instead.

•  Past Habits

When I was young, I used to go to the cinema on Saturday mornings.

When I was young, I would go to the cinema on Saturday mornings.

•  Repeated Happenings

We often used to have no money when I was a child.

We would often have no money, when I was a child.


•  Permanent States

We used to live in Edinburgh.

I used to like her but I don’t any more.

  • 1. Present simple ‘ I hardly ever go out these days’.  ‘As a rule, I don’t watch much TV’. – You can use tend to to talk about present habits. ‘I tend to stay in during the week’. ‘I don’t tend to read much’ (or ‘I tend not to read much’)
  • 2. Will/won’t  – It’s more emphatic than present simple. ‘I’ll usually listen to some music before I go to bed’. ‘I won’t normally get up before 11 at the weekend’.
  • 3. Present continuous  – Often used to talk about annoying habits. ‘He’s always watching TV!’ ‘He’ s always losing his keys!’    Remember there are some verbs, called state verbs, which are not usually used in the continuous form.
  • 4. Some state verbs.   THOUGHTS:  believe, know, mean, realise, recognise, remember, suppose, understand, feel, think.   FEELINGS:  adore, dislike, despise, hate, love, want, wish, prefe,…    BELONGING: belong, have/have got (=posses), own, posses…    SENSES: smell, taste, hear, see.    OTHER STATE VERBS: seem, look, look like, matter,…
  • 5. Talking about past habits    Past simple ‘I did it every day for 10 years but then I gave up’.
  • 6. Used to & would    Used to ‘I never used to read much when I was a kid’. ‘I used to eat a lot but I can’t afford to these days’. Don’t say *use to* in the present, say usually.    You can use would for repeated actions in the past ‘When I was in France I would always eat croissants for breakfast’. You can’t use would with state verbs: «I didn’t recognize him. He *wouldn’t* have a beard.»
  • 7. How often do you…? More than before/I used to/should Not as much as I’d like to/I used to/should Whenever I can/I get the chance All the time (not) as a rule, (not) usually On the whole, generally By and large, generally Now and again, once in a while, from time to time Once in a blue moon
  • 8. Btw, what’s a blue moon? What’s the meaning of once in a blue moon?
  • 9. Be used to/get used to + ing    Don’t confuse used to with be used to/get used to + ing. ‘I am not used to getting up early in the morning because I work in the evening’. ‘I’m getting used to my new students this year.’
  • 10. Choose the correct word in italics.    I didn’t use to/wasn’t used to like cooking very much.    I’m getting used to work/working from home.    I’m used to/I used to living on my own.    My family would/were used to always stay in a caravan for their summer holidays.    It’s difficult to get/getting used to a different way of life.
  • 11. Choose the correct word in italics.    I didn’t use/wasn’t used to like cooking very much. didn’t use   I ’m getting used to work/working from home. working    I’m used to/I used to living on my own. I’m used to    My family would/were used to always stay in a caravan for their summer holidays. would    It’s difficult to get/getting used to a different way of life. get
  • 12. Tell your partner about… a singer/band you used to like when you were younger (and now you are embarrassed about). what you would do after school when you were a child. a machine you would use a lot but now you don’t. a change at work/school/family that was a problem at first but now you are used to . a piece of technology you found difficult to use at first but now you are used to using.
¤  10 English phrases for talking about habits  (Speaking & Writing)
  1. I spend a lot of time… -ing
  2. I (often) tend to…
  3. You’ll always find me… 
  4. ___ … is a big part of my life.
  5. I always make a point of… -ing
  6. Whenever I get the chance, I…
  7. I have a habit of.. -ing
  8. I can’t (seem to) stop… -ing
  9. I’m always… -ing
  10. I can’t help… -ing


¤  Quotations about Habits
The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.  ~Samuel Johnson
Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.  ~Mark Twain
A habit is something you can do without thinking – which is why most of us have so many of them.  ~Frank A. Clark
Ill habits gather by unseen degrees – As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.
~John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel, 1681
Motivation is what gets you started.  Habit is what keeps you going.  ~Jim Ryun
Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow.  ~Yiddish Proverb
The unfortunate thing about this world is that good habits are so much easier to give up than bad ones.  ~Somerset Maugham
Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity.  ~St. Augustine
The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.  ~Feodor Dostoyevski
Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.  ~Spanish Proverb
Habit is a second nature which prevents us from knowing the first, of which it has neither the cruelties nor the enchantments.  ~Marcel Proust
The easier it is to do, the harder it is to change.  ~Eng’s Principle
Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them.  And you don’t have to keep them, either.  They keep you.  ~Frank Crane
In any family, measles are less contagious than bad habits.  ~Mignon McLaughlin,The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.  ~Confucius, Analects
Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.  ~Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar for 1894
Habit is a man’s sole comfort.  We dislike doing without even unpleasant things to which we have become accustomed.  ~Goethe
The best way to break a bad habit is to drop it.  ~Leo Aikman
Every grown-up man consists wholly of habits, although he is often unaware of it and even denies having any habits at all.  ~Georges Gurdjief

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