Comparing habits and customs from different societies

Custom and habits

A custom is an accepted way of behaving or of doing things in a society or a community.

  • Example: It is the custom in that country for women to marry young.

A custom is the way a person always behaves.

  • Example: It was her custom to rise early.


A habit is the routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously.

Is a thing that you do often and almost without thinking, especially something that is hard to stop doing.

  • Example: You need to change your eating habite (good /oad habits).

Anabit ie a usual behavior.


  • have a fixed ways of doing things.
  • have the habit of turning on the television as soon as I get home.

It is important to reflect on the customs and habits of your society because they are part of your culture and when you learn another language you are also learning and experiencing another culture. It helps you become an interoulturally competent
person (Gundogdu, N., 2007).

There are thousands of different cultures around the world; even in Mexico there are many different expressions of them. Each culture has its own history, tradition beliefs and languages.

Your customs help you define who you are; they connect you to your past too, so they can teach each generation and keep the traditions of your culture alive.

Something important is that customs give you a sense of belonging.

Used to

Custome and habits are not always the same in all the communities. In some societies they change faster than in other.

When you want to express that an activity was a past habit, we use USED TO. It means that it occurred in the past but not anymore, we only use it to talk about the past; there ie no similar expression for the present.


  • My grandmother used to make her own soap, but now she buys it in the store.
  • In the past my father smoked, but he doesn’t now. (He used to smoke).

After used to we always use the infinitive. Never use a continuous or past tense verb.


  • Correct: he used to emoke.
  • Incorrect: He used to emoked, he used to emoking.

Except in negative and quectione, the correct form is USED TO.


  • I used to go the park every Sunday.

To form questions, use DID and the negative form is usually didnt use to.

Usedio ie nota tense but ts lke a tense. Ita a special expression and we use it for the past only. We use ito talk about an activity that people did regulary in the pact like a habit and when we talk about a situation that was true in the past.

Structure of used to

Look at these examples:

Customs and habits evolve over time. The style of dress, music or activities for relaxation people preferred in previous eras differs from what people prefer now, partly because the symbolism some communities use to signify attractive or appropriate
dross, enjoyable music or interesting activities has changed.

Free time activities or leisure activities could be characterized as activities that provide enjoyment or refreshment to the people in the community. Free time can be considered to be the residual time a person has after they have attended to the
necessities of life (¢.9. work, family care, self care). This time can be describes as “free time», meaning that during this time a person is free to choose the way in which the time ie spent.

More vocabulary modals of possibility

The more vocabulary you learn, the more you will be able to express what you want to say. The following vocabulary is very useful in your school.

Clothes are an important element in all the cultures. They change according to the society and the place people live. Look at the chart and learn the vocabulary. The following vocabulary is about clothes.

Fuente: Secretaría de Educación Pública. (2015). Lengua adicional al español III. Ciudad de México.