Unit 24. Used to (I used to do)

Study this example situation:

We use used to with the base form (used to do / used to smoke, etc.) to say that something happened regularly in the past but no longer happens:

  • I used to play tennis a lot, but now I’m too lazy.

  • “Do you go to the movies very often?” “Not now, but I used to.”

  • Sue used to travel a lot. These days she doesn’t go away very often. We also use used to for past situations (that no longer exist):

  • We used to live in a small village, but now we live in Milan.

  • This building is now a furniture store. It used to be a movie theater.

  • Do you see that hill over there? There used to be a castle on that hill.

  • I’ve started drinking tea lately. I never used to like it before.

  • Ann used to have long hair, but she cut it some time ago.

    Used to + base form is always past. There is no present. You cannot say “I use to do.” For the present, use the simple present (I do). Compare the present and past:

    The normal question form is diduse to… ?:

  • Did you use to eat a lot of candy when you were a child? The negative form is didn’t use to… (or never used to)

  • Jim didn’t use to go out very often until he met Jill, (or never used to go out)

    D. Be careful not to confuse I used to do and I am used to doing (see Unit 59). The structures and meanings are different:

  • I used to live alone. (= I lived alone but I no longer live alone.)

  • I am used to living alone. (= I live alone and don’t find it strange or new
    because I’ve been living alone for some time.)

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