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Expressing Past Habits Using Past Simple

In this lesson of  Learning English as a Second Language, we shall learn:

  • How to express Past Habits or Repeated Actions Using Past Simple (Indefinite Tense)


As  you have already done Unit 36: Expressing Past Habits Using Used To and Unit 37: Expressing Past Habits Using Would, I hope that you now understand  very well how to express Past Habits or Repeated Actions and Past Situations. Today  we will understand how Past Simple (Indefinite ) can be used to show Past Habits or Repeated Actions and Situations.

Video Tutorial in English

Video Tutorial in Urdu

Observe the following examples:

  1. I used to play cricket everyday when I was a child.  (Expressing a Past Habit using Used To)
  2. I would play cricket everyday when I was a child.    (Expressing a Past Habit using Would)
  3. I played cricket everyday when I was a child.           (Expressing a Past Habit using Past Simple Tense)

If you observe the above examples carefully, you will see that all of the sentences are expressing a Past Habit. I must tell you that there isn't any difference in the above sentences and all deliver the same idea. Now it is up to you what you want to use for expressing a past habit, it's your own choice. You can use Used To  , Would  or Past Simple for expressing a Past Habit or a Repeated Action.

In Unit 37 , I explained the difference between Used to and Would that Used to can be used to express past situations but Would can not be used for a past situation and that both can be used for expressing a past habit or a repeated action.

Past Simple Tense can be used for a Past Habit, Repeated Action and Situation too.

For Example:

  1. She Collected stamps when she was a child.  (Expressing a Past Habit using Past Simple)
  2. She went to school everyday when she was a child.  (Expressing a Past Repeated Action using Past Simple)
  3. She liked ice-creams a lot when she was a child.      (Expressing a Past Situation Using Past Simple)

In sentence no.3 you can see that there isn't any action. (she liked) is a Past Situation not an action and this situation does not exist anymore.

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