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Talking about habits

We can use will to talk about habits and characteristic behavior.

She will spend hours watching TV. (It is her habit.)
The old woman will sit talking to herself for hours.
He will never waste an opportunity.
She will get up early in the morning.

The simple present tense can also be used to talk about habits.

He smokes.
She doesn’t get up early in the morning.

Sentences with stressed will can be used to criticize people’s typical behavior.

She WILL fall in love with the wrong people.
She WILL have her own way, no matter what you say.

Used to and would

To talk about past habits we can use used to or would.

I used to smoke, but now I have stopped.
He used to dislike opera, but now he doesn’t.
He used to play football at school.
After dinner we would sit in the hall and chat for a while.
The old man would recline in a corner and sleep most of the time.

Grammar notes

Used to does not have continuous, perfect, infinitive or –ing forms. To talk about present habits we use the simple present.

He smokes a lot. (NOT He uses to smoke a lot.)

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More English speaking lessons
Meeting people
Telephoning
Telling time
Asking about health
Asking people to repeat
Getting people's attention and offering apologies
Names and titles
Wishing people
Saying Thanks
Saying Please
Meals, drinking
Persuading

 

 

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