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Archive Language Point 38
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Used to

Helen in Professor Lewis' office

Uses:

We can use used to to talk about things:

1. we did regularly in the past that we don't do now
She used to smoke 20 a day but gave up cigarettes almost 10 years ago.
He used to eat lots of meat but now he's a vegetarian so he doesn't eat chicken, lamb or beef any more.

2. that were true in the past but which aren't true now
You and John just don't seem as close as you used to be. Have you two fallen out?
There used to be loads of shops in our village but now there are only four.

Form:


The positive, negative and question forms of 'use to' stay the same no matter what pronouns you use:

Positive:
This is made up of used to + base verb
Tim used to work in a newsagent's but now he works in a department store.
You used to like me. Why aren't we friends anymore?

Negative:
This is made up of Didn't use to + base verb
There didn't use to be a cinema here.
She didn't use to like wine but now she drinks a glass of it every evening.

Question:
This is made up of Did + pronoun + use to + base verb
Did you use to play sport?
Did she use to be scared of spiders?

Note it's unusual to use this form when asking questions about the past. We're much more likely to ask:
Did you play sport when you were at school?
Are you scared of spiders?/Were you scared of spiders when you were young?

Used to refers to the past. We can't use 'used to' to talk about the present or future.

To talk about your daily habits you can't say 'Every day I use to go to work by bike' you need to use the present simple - 'I go to work by bike'

To talk about future habits you can't say 'When I live in New York next year, I'll use to take the subway everywhere', you need to use will + base verb - 'I'll take the subway'

Vocabulary:

close friends:
pals who like each other very much

on your mind:
what you're thinking about

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