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I would like to ask to explain to me the usage of the construction modals + be + ing in the following script:

Kristin: Yeah, my, my dad, uh, taught me some things about the car, not as detailed as changing the brakes or changing the oil. But he taught me basics like just checking my fluids, like power steering fluid, um, brake fluid, the oil. At the time, y’know, I would dread him teaching me. I wouldn’t retain it. I would forget so he would constantly be teaching me. And it would just… I knew it would be this long-winded lecture. When I would be wanting just to get in the car and leave, go meet my friends.

It is told in the past so why can't we use past continous or past simple? What is the difference in meaning?

Thank you for your help.

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    The first one, would constantly be teaching is completely "natural", because of the meaning - the "teaching" is a repeated / extended action, reflected by the modal would and continuous teaching (note that would be constantly teaching is a perfectly valid alternative). Although it's grammatical, the second would be extremely unlikely in isolation, but again it's completely natural in context (since it just echoes the form already used for those past situations in respect of the father). – FumbleFingers Mar 30 '16 at 11:57
  • would there is past-tense of "will". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 30 '16 at 12:07
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    Consider: "I really need my own room, dad. I'll be sittin' there, tryin' to read, and Johnny'll come in and start playing a loud FPS video game. Now that I'm entering high school, I'll be wanting to buckle down, but he'll constantly be making it impossible for me to get any work done if I don't have my own room." – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 30 '16 at 12:15
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    "I really needed my own room. I'd be sittin' there, tryin' to read, and Johnny'd come in and start playing a loud FPS video game. Now that I was entering high school, I'd be wanting to buckle down, but he'd constantly be making it impossible for me to get any work done..." – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 30 '16 at 12:20
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According to Grammar for English Language Teachers by Martin Parrott:

We use used to and would as alternatives to the simple past in describing habits and repeated actions which took place over a period of time (and which often then ceased).

When we understand it this way, would is not a modal verb, but is a way to refer to the past.

It is told in the past so why can't we use past continous or past simple? What is the difference in meaning?

We can use past continuous or past simple, but the meaning is different. Compare these:

  1. I would forget (I forgot)
  2. he would constantly be teaching me (He was constantly teaching me)
  3. I would be wanting (I was wanting)

I showed in brackets a similar form, without the word would.

The difference in meaning is that past continuous and past simple don't show us that these things happened repeatedly. (The exception is number 2, which shows that it was repeated by using the word 'constantly'). We use would to emphasise this sense of things happening repeatedly.

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According to http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzone/410/grammar/410-modals-of-possibility-and-probability-with-continuous-tenses.htm, modal verbs+ ing could be used in the following formulas: modal verb + b + ing Person A: What's that noise? Person B: Oh, that's just my brother's band, they must be practicing. APPROPRIATE MODAL + HAVE BEEN + ING Also: Must, could, might, may, couldn’t, can’t, may not and might not are used to show how certain the speaker is that an action is presently occurring or not occurring. Using must conveys a strong feeling of certainty; nevertheless, there is still some doubt in the speaker’s mind.

Could, may and might show that a speaker is 50% or less certain that an action is in progress.

Couldn’t and can’t show that the speaker believes strongly that a situation is not taking place. For example:

It’s noon. George went to bed at 10:00 last night. He can’t still be sleeping!

May not and might not convey the idea that a speaker is 50% or less certain that an action is not possible or probable. They are not normally used in their contracted forms.

Correct: They aren’t here yet and it’s getting late. They might not be coming.

Incorrect: They aren’t here yet, and it’s getting late. They mightn’t be coming.

Might and could are used in questions regarding the possibility or probability of actions taking place. However, may and must are not.

Correct: Could Tom be studying now?

Incorrect: May Tom be studying now?

For most short answers, a modal alone is used. However, if the question includes a be verb, a modal with be is required.

Person A: Is Simon joining us?

Person B: I’m not sure. He might be.

Remember that not all verbs are used in the continuous (progressive) form. Non-action verbs that describe situations or conditions that aren’t expected to change, such as seem, appear, cost, weigh, have and be are not used. Other types of non-continuous verbs are:

Verbs of the senses (hear, smell, see, taste, etc.) Verbs of ownership (have, belong, own, possess) Verbs that convey feelings (love, hate, like, hate, prefer, want, etc.

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