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Lesson 7.3

Used to

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The verb “use” means to utilize. However, when we use this verb in the past simple with the preposition “to” (“used to”), its meaning changes. This construction, “used to”, can also be used as an adjective. Below is an explanation of the various uses of “used to”.

Used to

The modal verb “used to” is utilized to indicate something that happened on a regular basis in the past. It is also used for things that were true in the past, but are no longer true. As with the other modal verbs, “used to” is followed by the base form of the principal verb.

Structure

1. Affirmative Sentences

Subject + “used to” + verb…

Examples:

 We used to go to the beach every summer when I was young.
 He used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, but he quit last year.
 I used to like mushrooms, but not anymore.
 There used to be a great restaurant here, but it closed a few years ago.

2. Negative Sentences

Subject + “didn’t” + “use to” + verb…

Examples:

 I didn’t use to like mushrooms, but now I do.
 Food didn’t use to be so expensive.
 We didn’t use to go away on holiday very often when I was young.

3. Interrogative Sentences

“Did” + subject + “use to” + verb…?

Examples:

 Didn’t he use to smoke a lot?
 Did you use to live here?
 Did they use to go to the beach in the summers?
Note: We do not use “used to” for habits or things that happen on a regular basis in the present. Instead of this modal verb, we use adverbs such as “usually” or “normally” in the present.

Examples:

 We usually go to the beach every summer.
 He normally smokes a pack of cigarettes every day.
 They usually play football on the weekends.
Note: The modal verb “would” is also used for repeated actions or events in the past, but keep in mind that “would” can only be used with actions, not with states of being or habits. Also, “would” cannot be used in the negative. For more information on the other uses of “would”, see the lesson plans on conditional sentences and modal verbs.

Examples:

 When I was young, we would go to the beach every summer.
 At the university, they would play football every weekend.
He would smoke a lot.-
When I was young we wouldn’t go to the beach every summer.
Note: The modal verb “would” is also used for repeated actions or events in the past, but keep in mind that “would” can only be used with actions, not with states of being or habits. Also, “would” cannot be used in the negative. For more information on the other uses of “would”, see the lesson plans on conditional sentences and modal verbs|.

Examples:

 When I was young, we would go to the beach every summer.
 At the university, they would play football every weekend.
He would smoke a lot.-
When I was young we wouldn’t go to the beach every summer.

To be used to

When we use “used to” as an adjective it means “accustomed to” or “habituated to”. We use this adjective for things that are familiar, normal or common and it can be used with any verb tense. When “to be used to” is followed by a verb, the verb must be in the gerund (“-ing”).

Examples:

 She’s used to living alone.
 We weren’t used to traveling a lot.
 I’m not used to this cold weather.
Note: When we use the verb “get” instead of “be”, it indicates the process of familiarization. See the lesson on the verb to get for more information.

Examples:

 They divorced over 2 years ago. She has gotten used to living alone.
 With this new job I am getting used to traveling a lot.
 You need to get used to this cold weather if you are going to live here.
Note: When we use the verb “get” instead of “be”, it indicates the process of familiarization. See the lesson on to verb “to get” for more information.

Examples:

 They divorced over 2 years ago. She has gotten used to living alone.
 With this new job I am getting used to traveling a lot.
 You need to get used to this cold weather if you are going to live here.
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