why would is used instead of verb 2nd form mean past indefinite to talk about past? Look at the sentence

I would take sleeping pills. I took sleeping pills. Both sentence are looking accurate then what is the difference?

3 Answers 3


In your example sentence, "would" has the same meaning as "used to", meaning something that happened in the past which doesn't happen anymore.

The sentence isn't quite correct though, because with this meaning of "would", you have to give the time, like:

"Every night I would take sleeping pills."


"I would take sleeping pills" is not a complete sentence. It would only be meaningfully complete if it were, for instance, the answer to a question.


“I would take sleeping pills” implies taking sleeping pills a number of times, on a regular schedule - sometimes the conditional is used to describe a continual past action like this.

“I took sleeping pills” is more likely to describe a one-time occurence, or repeated occurence over a short period of time. But not necessarily.

Depending on the context, “would take” could also mean “might take” (if some condition is met).

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