For example,I want to tell a memory of past tense and explain how i used to take shower in wild camping.Is "used to" the only option? Is it Ok to use simple past tense? I've learnt English through reading books and don't know much about grammar.

2 Answers 2


You are looking for a tense to describe repeated actions/states in the past. This is called the past with habitual aspect or habitual past, which can be expressed in several ways:

Simple Past [with Adverb]
Whenever I visited my grandmother, I [always] brought her a box of chocolates.

Whenever I‘d visit my grandmother, I’d bring her a box of chocolates.

Used to
I used to bring my grandmother a box of chocolates whenever I visited her.

As Jesse Williams pointed out, you can be quite literal about it and remember performing some action at least twice in the past:

I remember bringing my grandmother a box of chocolates every time I visited her.

  • So I can say "when we camped wildly, we always took shower in river" Or " Everything that we'd camp in nature, we'd take shower into the river" or " we used to take shower into the river, whenever we camped". Are those sentences correct?
    – saied
    Oct 25, 2018 at 22:29
  • I'm not sure how you would take a shower, as opposed to a bath, in a river unless there was a waterfall, but you're headed in the right direction. When we camped in the wild, we always bathed in the river. Every time we'd go camping, we'd bathe in the river. We used to bathe in the river whenever we went camping.
    – KarlG
    Oct 25, 2018 at 23:36

Simple past tense is by far the most common, but I suppose it depends on your usage. If you're writing creatively or in a way which lends itself to building a scene, you could go with a descriptive route. Something like:

I recall many times showering in the wild or bathing in the lake, the sun low on the horizon.

Making the primary verb past tense works just as well, and often better, than going with used to.

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