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'would' and 'used to' are interchangeable. We can use either while talking about PAST HABITS.

I used to visit my sister twice a week.

I would visit my sister twice a week.

Can we use 'would' in a subordinate clause followed by a main clause with 'would'?

When he would see me, he would wave.

Or should there be past tense in the subordinate clause?

When he saw me, he would wave.

Note that it was his habit to wave but I'm not sure if 'seeing' can be considered as a habit.

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    It was his habit to wave on those occasions that he happened to see you, so 'when he saw me' is idiomatic. You can't use would in both clauses (but you could say 'Every morning he would look out for me and wave'.) Nov 20, 2021 at 10:02

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Any of these would be correct, but one of them is better:

  1. When he would see me, he would wave.
  2. When he saw me, he would wave.
  3. When he saw me, he used to wave.

Sentence 1 is grammatically correct, but I prefer one of the others. It sounds a little stilted. Sentence 3 implies that he no longer waves when he sees me and makes it sound like we no longer get along. So, I would say something like sentence 2.

In this case, “he would wave” in the main clause is enough to establish that “saw” in the subordinate clause is something that happened repeatedly, not just once.

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