Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 14 – Grammar – Present & Past Habits

Here we go! We’re onto some more difficult grammar! It’s Sunday and I had an extra day to put something on, so here’s the sexy!

To talk about present habits we can use:

  1. The present simple with or without an adverb of frequency. Ex: I go to work at 12 o’clock.
  2. The present continuous with an adverb of frequency. This usually implies that the speaker finds the habit annoying. Ex: She’s always knocking on my door!
  3. will: Ex:My friends and I will meet around 5pm to watch the movie “us.”

To talk about past habits that we have stopped doing, we can use:

  1. used to. Ex: I used to go running outside during the rainy months last year.

We cannot use used to talk about single events in the past or when we give a period of time. IN this case, we use the past time.

She used to work in a factory. She worked there for five years. Not she used to work in a factory for five years.

The negative form of used to is didn’t use to. There is no present form of used to – we use the present simple with an adverb of frequency.

2. would

We use would with past actions but not past states.

He would come and visit us on Sundays. Not he would have a bike.

We do not usually use wouldn’t to talk about past habits.

He didn’t use to give us presents. Not he wouldn’t give us presents.

3. the past continuous with an adverb of frequency. This usually implies that the speaker found the habit annoying.

My boss was always telling me to make them the first priority.


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