The phrases "used to" and "be used to" are commonly heard in English. For example: "I used to go fishing every day." OR "I am used to mild winters in the South." This unit looks at when and how to use these phrases to sound more fluent.
English-Used to / Be used to / Get used to
"used to" and "be used to"
Used to + verb
We use the expression “used to” to signify something we regularly or repeatedly did in the past, but are not doing anymore. When using “used to”, the verb that follows is in the infinitive. The past-tense verb “used to” stays the same for every pronoun (I, you, he/she/it, we, you, they)
She used to ride her bike to work when she lived in the city. ( This happened regularly, but is no longer the case.)
He used to eat meat, but then he became a vegetarian. (He ate meat in the past regularly, but no longer eats meat.)
My dad used to bring me presents when he came home from business trips. (He brought presents regularly, but not anymore.)
They used to serve alcohol. (They served alcohol in the past, but don’t serve alcohol anymore.)
“Used to” in the Negative
There are different ways to use “use to” in the negative. It is not grammatically correct to say “I didn’t used to…”, but it is possible that some people use this informally or colloquially. Strictly grammatically it is incorrect, but it became colloquially accepted because it is difficult to hear the difference when speaking. Another way of negating “used to” is to use the word “never”.
When asking a question about what someone “used to”, we use “did”. “Used to” changes to the present tense.
Did you use to live downtown? – No, I never used to live downtown/ No, I never lived downtown.
Did she use to give students that much homework? -Yes, she always used to give that much homework. No, she never used to give…
Did they use to go here? – No, they never used to go there. No, they did not use to go there.
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