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I watch a movie every Monday.

I know this sentence is in the present tense and it indicates something routinely done.

How could I say that in the past as I no longer watch movie.

My guess is:

In the past, I watched a movie every monday.

or

In the past, I was watching a movie every monday.

But the problem for me is that the past simple tense is to indicate a specific point or event that took place in the past, not to indicates a repeatedly or routinely actions in the past.

And the past continues is to indicate an action that runs in the background and requires another action in the past simple and this is not the case here.

I have learned that used to is correct here but this is informal, is that right? what are the alternatives here?

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  • "But the problem for me is that the past simple tense is to indicate a specific point or event that took place in the past, not to indicates a repeatedly or routinely actions in the past." - I think your understanding is mistaken. "I Xed every day" is a perfectly natural way to say "every day, but in the past".
    – stangdon
    Dec 19, 2022 at 19:43

3 Answers 3

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Used to is not particularly informal.

But if you want some more formal expressions, I was in the habit of watching a movie every Monday or (in a narrative) I would watch a movie every Monday.

But note that, while they're less common, the other options (past simple and past progressive) are both possible in suitable contexts:

For example:

How did you relax when you were working so hard last year? I watched a movie every Monday. or I was watching a movie every Monday.

You could use used to, but you don't need to, because the temporal arrangements are already established by the context. The use of was watching is possible because this was a habit that continued.

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Using "used to" is not considerably informal; therefore, you could use that for this type of situation.

I used to watch a movie every Monday.


But the alternatives could be in a communication in the context of:

A: Don't you always watch movies on Monday?

B: Yes, I used to. But it's already been a year since I last watched a movie on Monday.

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As others have said, "used to" is acceptable in most contexts - avoiding that will seem stiffly formal!

We can use would here, as long as it's already clear we're talking about the past (because would is also used for conditionals):

When I was a student, I would go to the cinema every Monday to see the latest film.

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