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I have read this:

I am moving tomorrow and the old black lady that lives next to me just said “ I am going to miss you. I used to stay up every night when you would go out with your friends and I wouldn’t go to sleep until I heard your door close and I know you made it home safe.”

Why it says would in: “I used to stay up every night when you would go out with your friends”?

What is the slight difference it make rather than omitting it?

Also, why it says heard not hear in: “I wouldn’t go to sleep until I heard your door close."

As I know it is speaking about a routine or habit.

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You are correct that the old lady is speaking about a routine or habit, but she is referring to a routine that she used to have (i.e. in the past), which was in response to actions that you used to do.

In the sentence, "I used to stay up every night when you would go out with your friends", you used to go out with your friends and, when you did, she would stay up and wait.

You could substitute would go with went, because both are still past-tense forms—"I used to stay up every night when you went out with your friends"—but you couldn't omit would, without also omitting used to (but the sentence would become present-tense, describing something that both you and the old lady still do).

In the sentence "I wouldn't go to sleep until I heard your door close.", both wouldn't go and heard are past-tense forms. The old lady used to stay awake until she inferred you were home (by the closing of your door). You wouldn't say/write hear in that sentence, because hear is the present-tense form.

Comments

But what about "I know" why did not it shift as well?

I see your point – I would have expected to see knew written there, to keep the past-tense phrasing consistent.

If you are sure your original quote definitely said know and not knew, then I would say it is either a mistake by the writer, or a deliberate attempt by the writer to describe a quirk in the old lady's accent/dialect. Personally, I think the mistake is more likely.

What is the difference between "would go" and "went"?

Went is just the normal, past-tense form of go. Go is one of English's many irregular verbs, in that it does not follow the regular rule of adding -ed to the end to make it past-tense. For example, you don't say "He goed to the shop," you say "He went to the shop."

Would go is a special past-tense form that is used to describe a habit, routine or other regular occurrences that someone used to do. In this circumstance, you can say "I would go...", "I'd go..." (the I'd is a contraction of I would) or "I used to go...".

You mostly use went to describe actions that you did/places that you travelled to once or infrequently, rather than things you used to do routinely:

  • "I went to the shop today. I bought bread and eggs."
  • "I used to go to the shop for my mother. I would buy bread and eggs."
  • "I used to go to the shop for my mother. She would ask for bread and eggs."

Note that there is another use for "I would go..." (and, by extension, "I'd go..."), but that is for describing what you would do in a particular situation, e.g. if you were giving advice. This is not the form that your quote is using, but you will see that I use it in my advisory statements to you.

Given the irregularity of the go verb, I probably wouldn't use the "I would go..." form that is used in your quote, unless it was already contextually established that I was talking about a past habit. In your quote above, this context is given by the sentence starting "I used to..."

However, I would probably always choose to say "I would not go..." (or the contraction "I wouldn't go...") if I were talking about an action that I deliberately did not do (or a place I deliberately avoided). I would not usually say "I used to not go...", although you may hear this in casual speech. You definitely wouldn't say "I did not went..."—it is always "I did not go..." (or "I didn't go...").

Also, in your quote, would go has been used in two places – "when you would go out" and "I wouldn't go to sleep". The first usage is talking about you leaving the house to go to places (socially, e.g. to a bar). The second is just another irregularity – you do not "do sleep", you "go to sleep".

Finally, I am comfortable replacing would go with went in the "when you would go out" part of the quote, because the old lady is really describing her routine (as a reaction to your actions), not your routine of going out. You can replace it in the other parts of the quote, but you may need to restructure the sentences a bit to make the context obvious:

  • "I used to stay up every night when you would go out with your friends"
  • "I used to stay up every night when you went out with your friends"
  • "I would stay up every night when you used to go out with your friends"
  • "I wouldn’t go to sleep until I heard your door close"
  • "I would stay awake until I heard your door close"
  • "I only went to sleep when I heard your door close"
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  • Thank you so much, so it is because of "used to" the whole story shifted to the past tense. But what about "I know" why did not it shift as well? - Another thing else what is the difference between "would go" and "went" ? so if you please you can make it more clear for me,,, thanks – Gamal Thomas Jul 15 '19 at 21:15
  • @GamalThomas : I've tried to address your follow-up questions in an edit to my answer – jimbobmcgee Jul 16 '19 at 17:10
  • Very helpful, it is much clear now, thank you – Gamal Thomas Jul 16 '19 at 17:16

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