Anna loses her key. When she goes looking for it, she finds a life coach instead. And that's where the confusion begins...
Anna: Hi, Kaveh! Let’s go to lunch!
Kaveh: Ooh, I know a great place. When I first started working here, I would go every day!
Anna: Great. Oh, no.
Kaveh: What’s wrong?
Anna: I lost my key! I just had it this morning.
Kaveh: You should check the Lost & Found office.
Anna: Great idea. Where is it?
Kaveh: Oh, it used to be across from the cafeteria. But now it’s down in the basement next to the elevators. It’s really hard to find.
Anna: The Lost & Found is hard to find. That’s funny.
Kaveh: It is.
Professor Bot: I hope Anna can find the Lost & Found office!
Used to and would describe something that happened repeatedly in the past.
Kaveh uses would when he says, “When I first started working here, I would go every day!
There are two differences between used to and would.
Number 1: We use would only when we say the time period first.
Number 2: For verbs like be, think, feel, see and understand, we can only use used to.
Kaveh says, "It used to be across from the cafeteria."
Keep listening for more!
(A worker moves the sign for the Lost & Found office. So, Anna walks into the wrong office without knowing it.)
Serenity: Come in! I am Serenity.
Anna: Hi, Serenity. I’m Anna!
Serenity: Please, sit down. How can I help you?
Anna: I lost something very important.
Serenity: Shh. I already know. You need help.
Anna: Yes. I need help finding the key …
Serenity: Shh. You need to find the key – the key that will give you happiness.
Anna: Yes. Finding this key will make me very happy.
Serenity: First, Anna, let me tell you a little bit about myself.
Serenity: I used to be a very important person with a very important job. I made a lot of money -- I mean a lot.
Anna: Wow. Good for you!
Serenity: No! No, it was bad for me. I lost the most important thing – the key! You’ve lost it too, haven’t you, Anna? Haven’t you?
Anna: I guess. So, how does this work? Do I have to fill out a form or something?
Serenity: No. No forms. Just answer this one question: As a child, what did you use to do to feel happy?
Anna: When I was little, I used to sing all the time with my family. Those were good times.
Serenity: Singing is so joyful! I used to sing. But now that I’ve started my business, I’ve just been too busy. Too busy! Anna, why don’t you sing again?
Anna: I sing everywhere! I sing in the office. I sing on the metro. I sing in the elevators. I sing on the escalators. I sing in the bathroom. Serenity! Serenity! I really need to find my key. Yeah!
Serenity: Yes, we need to find the key … the key to happiness.
Anna: No, no. I just need to find the key to my apartment.
Serenity: I used to know. But now I don't! Do you, Anna?
Anna: I don’t know. I think I left it in the ladies’ room. You know, this isn’t the Lost & Found, is it?
(Anna starts walking out of the room)
Serenity: It could be the Lost & Found. I’m lost! And I used to find joy for people! I used to find joy!
Anna: You know, this is a bad time for you. I’ll find the Lost & Found myself. Bye, thanks.
Serenity: I used to find joy. I used to find joy! I used to find joy!
Anna: Ah, I found my key!
Serenity: I used to find joy!
Pofessor Bot: Oh no. Serenity lost her joy. But at least Anna found her key! Check out our website for more!
basement - n. the part of a building that is entirely or partly below the ground
elevator - n. a machine used for carrying people and things to different levels in a building
escalator - n. a machine used for carrying people and things to different levels in a building
cafeteria - n. a place where people get food at a counter and carry it to a table for eating
form - n. a document with blank spaces for filling in information
joy - n. a feeling of great happiness
joyful - n. full of joy
key - n. something that provides a solution or explanation
life coach - n. a person who counsels and encourages people on matters about their careers or personal challenges
Lost & Found - n. a place where lost items are kept to await reclaiming by their owners (sometimes also written as lost-and-found or lost and found)
serenity - n. a feeling of calm and peacefulness ("Serenity" is also the name of the life coach.)
state - n. a way of living or existing
Now, practice the grammar you just learned. Use the Comments section below to tell us what you used to do to feel happy.
Remember to follow these rules:
Rule # 1: Use would only when you introduce the time period first.
You can mention the time in the same sentence:
"When I first started working here, I would go every day!"
Or, you can mention the time in the previous sentence:
"When I first started working here, I did not bring lunch from home. I would go to restaurants every day.
Rule # 2: For stative verbs, only use used to. A stative verb is a verb used mainly to describe a state or situation rather than an action.
Two examples from today's lesson:
Serenity: "I used to know. But now I don't"
Kaveh: "It used to be across from the cafeteria.
There are many stative verbs in English. Some examples include: be, know, think, feel, see, understand, want, like, love, hate, wish, mean, remember, taste, believe, hear, look and seem.
See how well you understand this lesson by taking a listening quiz. Play each short video, then choose the best answer.
Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.
Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.
Grammar focus: Past habitual with "used to" and "would"
Topics: Discussing recreation preferences