Used to

From Teflpedia
Disambiguation - not to be confused with be used to, get used to or become used to.

Used to is an English semi-auxiliary verb form used to express past repeated actions or past states, especially those that are no longer true.[1]

Meaning[edit | edit source]

Form[edit | edit source]

Used to + "verb"[edit | edit source]

This is used to describe repeated or habitual situations which existed in the past but which no longer exist or occur.

  • Statement: "I used to play football."
  • Affirmative: "I did use to play football."
  • Negative: "I didn't use to play football."
  • Question: "Did you use to play football?"
  • Negative question: "Didn't you use to play football?"

It is similar in meaning to past time would, though as would is a modal verb, its grammar is vastly different.

"used to be"[edit | edit source]

Is used to describe states rather than actions:

  • There used to be a cinema here.

The spelling of the negative can cause problems:

  • I didn't use to smoke a lot.
  • There didn't use to be a cinema here.

Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

There are some pronunciation features. First, the two /t/ sounds in used to are usually run together[technical term?], so that we say /ju:stu:/ rather than /ju:st tu:/. Second, the vowel in to is often reduced to a schwa; /ju:stə/.


Pedagogy[edit | edit source]

This form is introduced at pre-intermediate level.

References[edit | edit source]