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Used to

The phrase “used to” is used to describe something that happened regularly or repeatedly in the past, but doesn’t happen anymore. It can also be used to describe something that was true in the past but isn’t true anymore. Note that “used to” is used in positive sentences, while “use to” is used in negative sentences and questions.

Positive: subject + used to + infinitive
Negative: subject + did not + use to + infinitive
Question: Did + subject + use to + infinitive?

Common uses:

1. Describing past habits or actions that don’t happen anymore

  • She used to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings.
  • They didn’t use to have a car, so they walked everywhere.
  • Did she use to live in a different city?

2. Describing changes that have happened over time

  • He used to be very shy, but now he’s very outgoing.
  • The climate didn’t use to be as hot as it is now.
  • Didn’t you use to cook at home all the time?

3. Expressing past states or conditions that are no longer true

  • She used to eat meat, but now she only eats plants.
  • I didn’t use to be allergic to peanuts, but now I am.
  • Didn’t they use to live in a different neighbourhood?

Check your understanding of “used to”

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