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Which is the preferred way to translate "used" to in Spanish? Consider the sentence:

I used to eat ice-cream everyday.

I can translate it as:

Comía helado cada día

and also as:

Solía comer helado cada día

Which is the more natural translation (particularly in Mexico)?


Similarly, consider this sentence:

I often visit her.

Which of the below sentences is the more natural translation (in Mexico) and why?

A menudo la visito.

Suelo visitarla.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Since you are asking for a Mexican usage of your sentences, here are some choices.

For the first sentence,

I used to eat ice-cream everyday.

I would use it as:

Comía helado a diario.

Comía helado todos los dias.

From my point of view, "soler" is pretty formal word and we rarely use it in a common conversation in México.

For the second sentence,

I often visit her.

I would use it as:

La visito seguido.

The phrase a menudo, its not used in a common conversation, once again, it sounds too formal on a simple day to day conversation. The use of soler in this sentence doesn't sound common for me, since we usually use it to indicate past actions. I'm not sure if this usage its correct or not, but according to my experience when its used its generally to indicate past actions.

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In my experience (I am Spanish), the verb soler indicates that this custom is not always followed. Thus, solía comer helado todos los días means that I ate ice-cream most days, but sometimes I didn't. But I would rather say "comía helado casi todos los días", it would sound more natural in coloquial speech. Nevertheless, solía visitar a mi tía los miércoles sounds quite natural to me; but I stress that I live in Spain and our usage might be different from that of Mexico. –  Gorpik Jun 10 at 15:49
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The most natural translation is:

Comía helado cada día

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Welcome to Spanish.SE! The sentence is just an example, the question seeks an explanation rather than a mere translation. –  JoulSauron Jun 10 at 16:17
    
@Adr where are you from? I understand not using soler might sound more natural to you but I would need more context as in the region where your colloquialism applies. –  Amit Schandillia Jun 10 at 16:54
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