Used to and use to – more information:

Watch this video to find out when and how to use ‘used to’ and ‘use to’.

‘Used to’ or ‘use to’?
We’ve seen and heard lots of examples of used to in this unit. But do you know why we sometimes write used to and other times we write use to – without a -d? Don’t worry – it’s not that difficult. Here’s Alice again to help you!

So, the reason why we sometimes say used to and at other times use to depends on if we have an auxiliary verb or not.

I used to write letters to my family. This sentence is positive and the verb used is in the past, so we write it with an –ed ending.

I didn’t use to email them. This sentence is in the past as well, but it’s negative. So that means we don’t end use with –ed. The auxiliary didn’t is already in the past.

Take note: formal usage

There is a time when you might see or hear used not to in a negative past form. I used not to like him, but now we are best friends. But this is very formal usage, and you won’t hear it often in spoken English.

Take note: questions

It is the same for questions with used to.

Did you use to like drinking tea when you were a child?
Where did you use to go on holiday when you were at school?

You can read more about this in the Unit 17 Grammar reference.

End of Session 3
We’ve seen used to in positive and negative forms and formal and informal language. Join us in Session 4 when we’ll meet Christine. She’s going to tell us all about a big change in her life. After that, it’s time for News Report where we’ll hear about schools – with no rules!

Then it’s over to you to put your learning into practice. We want to hear from you about the changes in your life!

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.
I 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.

I 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

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

Did you use to work in a restaurant?

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