I am wondering why is "would" used In this sentence.

When she was younger she 'would' shrink away from me whenever I spoke to her.

Is using simple past without "would" grammatically wrong, or does it change the meaning? like this:

When she was younger she shrank away from me whenever I spoke to her.

  • 1
    "would" is perfect there. It is used to express a past habit, a typical course of action in the past.
    – Gustavson
    Jun 19 '19 at 18:51

By using “would” followed by a verb, it suggests a regular action or habit.

Using the verb in the pass tense though without “would” suggests a one-off action that was not repeated or even stopped all together.

  • so the word "would" in this sentence is equal to "used to"?
    – R. Javid
    Jun 19 '19 at 23:09
  • 1
    @R.Javid first, to use the word “would” in this scenario, it must be established that the context is in the past. “Used to” however does not require this previous context though. Therefore they can both be used interchangeably as long as the reader knows that you are talking about the past - for example first saying “when I was a child.”
    – JDF
    Jun 19 '19 at 23:14

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