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My grandmother baked/My grandmother used to bake Options
Helenej
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 7:07:14 AM

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1. My grandmother baked a cake every Sunday when we were young.
2. My grandmother used to bake a cake every Sunday when we were young.


I believe that both sentences have the same meaning.
Can you think of a case when one would be more preferable than the other?
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:16:04 AM
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That's actually a hard question to answer - there are no rules which govern what tenses to use in every possible situation!

I guess, if people were chatting and mentioned the subject of home-made cakes AND if they were bemoaning the fact that no-one in the 20thC even knew HOW to bake a cake, you'd use the first one.

Whereas the 2nd one would be if you were musing about old memories/family etc. all in the land of " how it used to be..."

But really, this is just a question of personal style: some people would tend to use one way, other people would use sometimes one and sometimes the other way, some people are pedants and would stick to whichever one their grammar book had dictated to them. The sense of what is being said remains the same however you say it: in the past, my grandmother made treats for us every Sunday afternoon.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8:53:36 AM

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Hiya!

I decided to 'look it up' - this is the page I found. It is named "past habit", which is a very good name, but not a grammar term.

This particular situation (an action which happened habitually or repeatedly in the past but does not happen now) can use any of the three forms.

1. My grandmother baked a cake every Sunday when we were young.
2. My grandmother used to bake a cake every Sunday when we were young.
3. My grandmother would bake a cake every Sunday when I was young.


There is really NO difference at all (I thought that there was some slight difference, but I was wrong - there is not).

Each of those forms can be used also for other situations - for example "My grandmother baked a cake" can be used to talk about ONE specific time, but the other two forms can't be used like that - or, "My grandmother would bake a cake" can be used in a conditional, but the others can't.

I, personally, tend to use "used to" and occasionally the simple past - I don't use 'would' in this situation (there are many other uses for 'would'!)


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
NKM
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 1:43:31 PM

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Helenej wrote:

Can you think of a case when one would be more preferable than the other?

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Note: In English (unlike some languages), something is either preferred or it's not. There's no "more preferable" or "less preferable".

- "Can you think of a case when one would be preferable to the other?"
- "Can you think of a case when one would be preferred over the other?"

hedy mmm
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 2:12:05 PM

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Congratulations ...You did it again NKM...you saw beyond the question...Dancing Dancing Dancing



"God graced us with today....don't waste it." hedy
georgieporgie
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 3:56:47 PM
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NKM wrote:
Helenej wrote:

Can you think of a case when one would be more preferable than the other?

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Note: In English (unlike some languages), something is either preferred or it's not. There's no "more preferable" or "less preferable".

- "Can you think of a case when one would be preferable to the other?"
- "Can you think of a case when one would be preferred over the other?"


True. But I believe one can say "most preferred." Do you agree?
Verbatim
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 9:10:43 PM
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The grammar rule governing the "used to" exists. If your grandmother used to bake a cake every Sunday but does not do it anymore, use the rule. Preferably, don't use it for other past actions.
"Used to = an action or habit that was common in the PAST but not anymore. Grammar - Woodward English"
Helenej
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 3:57:09 PM

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Thank you everyone for the answers and corrections.
NKM
Posted: Thursday, November 16, 2017 3:49:58 PM

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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
georgieporgie wrote:
NKM wrote:
Helenej wrote:

Can you think of a case when one would be more preferable than the other?

══════════════════════════════════════════════

Note: In English (unlike some languages), something is either preferred or it's not. There's no "more preferable" or "less preferable".

- "Can you think of a case when one would be preferable to the other?"
- "Can you think of a case when one would be preferred over the other?"


True. But I believe one can say "most preferred." Do you agree?

Yes, but "most preferred" is about the number of people who prefer it, not about a degree of preference.

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