I was reading a book when I encountered the following excerpt:

But even when they were out of their cell, they still wouldn't be able to touch anybody else. You'd see them playing "horse", which is a basketball game[...] The two inmates would have this big chain fence between them, but it was intimacy of some sort.

I used to think about the difference between "would" and "used to" in terms of the verb that follows them (stative vs dynamic). However, in this sentence, it is clear (at least to me) that the big chain fence was only stretched between them when they were out of their cells playing "horse". Therefore, it is not a case of static vs dynamic, but rather when something was a permanent or repeated activity/situation.

In that case, in order to check if I understand it correctly, I would like to express the idea that because of my parents' travelling, I was forced to live temporarily in many places. Having that in mind, is it possible to say:

When I was younger, I was forced to move house quite often, so I'd live in many European countries.

I will appreciate your comments.

1 Answer 1


You're right that "would" is only used with temporary and repeating situations, rather than only action verbs. "Have" is indeed a stative verb, but because it repeats, it's OK to use it with "would" in this function.

As for your example, it's incorrect because you only once lived in many European countries -- when you were younger. You didn't live in many European countries at once and repeatedly. Rather, you lived in a single European country at a time, and you did that many times. So instead, you could say:

When I was younger, I was forced to move house quite often, so I would live in a different European country every year.

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