Learning English

Inspiring language learning since 1943

English Change language

Session 4

Have you ever moved to a different part of your country or even abroad? We'll hear from Christine from BBC World Service talking about big changes in her life. Then it's over to you. Tell us about the changes in your life using used to. Then there's News Report about schools which didn't use to have rules.

Sessions in this unit

Session 4 score

0 / 4

  • 0 / 4
    Activity 1
  • 0 / 0
    Activity 2
  • 0 / 0
    Activity 3

"Now I live in London, which is a much, much bigger place..."

So far, we've looked at how we talk about changes in technology with used to. But what about talking about ourselves, and the changes in our lives? Well, we can talk about these things with used to as well!

Here's Christine, who works for BBC World Service, talking about changes in her life. While you listen, try to answer this question: What things have changed in Christine's life?

  • her home?
  • her computer?
  • her work?
  • her diet?

Listen to the audio and try the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

I grew up in a small town in the northeast of England. It was by the coast, next to the sea. And now I live in London, which is a much, much bigger place compared to where I grew up.

When I was a child, I used to walk everywhere. The town was so small that you could walk from one side to the other and you never really needed a car. Now I live in London, places are so far apart that you always need to be using a bus or the Underground - Tube - or trains to get around when you’re going to work or to see friends.

When I was younger, mealtimes used to be quite predictable. And we’d eat similar foods every day, consisting of meat, potatoes, root vegetables, whatever was in season at the time. We never used to have very varied meals, whereas now my diet’s changed a lot. I don’t eat meat anymore. And I have a diet that’s all about vegetables and fruit. And I’m more adventurous in what I eat now than what I did when I was a child.

So, did you identify the things Christine talked about?

She mentioned moving from the North of England to London (that's about her home). She also talked about what she used to eat as a child and what she eats now that she has become a vegetarian (that's all about her diet). But she didn't mention anything about her work or her computer.


You can download this audio (size: 2.3MB)

To do

Time to test your knowledge of used to. Complete sentences in this activity with the correct verb form. Try to remember everything you've learnt so far in the unit!

Complete the sentences

4 Questions

Choose the best verb form to complete the sentences

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y


In the next activity it is your turn! Share your past experiences with us and make sure you do it with the correct forms of used to!

Session Grammar

  • We use used to + infinitive for:

    • things we did regularly in the past, but we don't do now. 
    • past facts which are no longer true.

    used to work at a restaurant, but now I work at a library.

    NOT: I used to eat some cake last Saturday night. ('Saturday night' was just one time, so it was not something that happened regularly.) 

    Used to helps us to compare activities in the past and now. When we say used to, we do not do something now.

    used to work at a restaurant. I quit that job, and then got a new job at a library.

    The different forms are: 

    positive: used to + infinitive

    I used to live in Istanbul. Now I live in Columbia.

    negatives & questions: did / did not / didn't + use to + infinitive

    didn't use to like sushi. Now I love it!

    Did you use to work in a restaurant? 

Session Vocabulary

  • root vegetables
    the large part of particular plants that are used for vegetables, for example carrots, swede or beetroot

    in season
    (here) the period of the year when something is easily available, for example strawberry season

    (here) willing to try new experiences