Learning to cook (used to & would)

Here’s a nice article from The Guardian about someone who was a terrible cook, and then learned to cook well.

You can practice some vocabulary, read the article, and then practice how to talk about the past using used to and would.

You can see the answers after each question and then click Submit at the end to finish.

1. Before reading, try to match these words and phrases to their definitions. Check your answers, and then click on the article (it'll open in a new tab). Then complete the Used To vs Would sentences.


Tip -

Pull your weight -

Whip something up -

Scavenge -

Write something off -

Shift -

Retrograde -

Life-affirming -

Leftovers -

Muddle through -

Breakthrough -

Staple -

Off-putting -

Mangle -

Dodgy -

2. Click here to open the article:


Sometimes when we speak about the past we use used to to talk about situations, to show that they were that way in the past but they aren't that way now. Situations in the past are not the same as habits, which are things we did, but don't do now.
But when we talk about the past, when we tell stories, we often use both situations and habits. We can use Used To for both, but we can only use Would for habits.

Look at the sentences below, and say if they are correct only with Used To or with both Used To and Would.


  1. The author be a terrible cook.
  2. She eat only a limited range of food, which wasn't healthy.
  3. She  live with a friend who did most of the cooking.
  4. Her flatmate always cook and she would do the washing up.
  5. She make mistakes when cooking because she was easily distracted.
  6. The author get discouraged when she tried to cook and things didn't go well.
  7. She  think that she wasn't refined or gregarious enough to enjoy cooking.
  8. She often cook something and then eat the same thing for days, but now she freezes some portions.
  9. She get very stressed when she invited friends for dinner, and now she cooks something simple and worries less.
  10. She  live like a racoon, eating without planning or cooking, and now she enjoys food more.