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What is the meaning of "would" in the following sentences,

After that, I had to let Megan ride Nipper. It started as soon as we arrived home from school.

'Come on, Chloe,' Megan would say, taking my hand. 'It's riding lesson time.'

Then she would make Tara watch too. Not that Tara minded. Everything Megan did was wonderful in Tara's eyes.

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( Source: STARLIGHT BY Jan WEEKS, Tahlia Gee )

Does "Megan would say" mean "Megan said habitually" mean?

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This is "would" for a repeated action in the past. We often use it when telling stories about the distant past to talk about routines and familiar events.

If you're familiar with "used to", "would" has nearly the same function. So these sentences mean about the same thing:

'Come on, Chloe,' Megan used to say, taking my hand. 'It's riding lesson time.'
Then she used to make Tara watch too. Not that Tara minded. Everything Megan did was wonderful in Tara's eyes.

The big difference between "would" and "used to" is that "used to" can be used with any verb, but "would" can only be used with action verbs.

So, both these sentences with an action verb are correct:

Dad would be up at dawn every morning.
Dad used to be up at dawn every morning.

But while the "used to" sentence here with a non-action verb is correct, the "would" sentence is incorrect:

She used to have cancer, but she recovered completely.
She would have cancer, but she recovered completely.

"Have" is a non-action verb, so we cannot use "would" with it to describe something that regularly happened in the past.

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  • May I ask one more question? What is the meaning of " Not that Tara minded " in the sentences? Deos "Not that Tara minded" mean "That doesn't mean Megan cares about Tara" ?
    – user175012
    Sep 29, 2022 at 23:33
  • @user175012 Let's keep things focused on one question at a time. If you want to ask about "not that X minded", please ask a new question.
    – gotube
    Sep 30, 2022 at 1:25

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