Used to


  • Suject + "used to" + verb...

"Used to" expresses the idea that something was an old habit that stopped in the past. It indicates that something was often repeated in the past, but it is not usually done now.


  • Jerry used to study English.
  • Sam and Mary used to go to Mexico in the summer.
  • I used to start work at 9 o'clock.
  • Christine used to eat meat, but now she is a vegetarian.

    "Used to" can also be used to talk about past facts or generalizations which are no longer true.


    • I used to live in Paris.
    • Sarah used to be fat, but now she is thin.
    • George used to be the best student in class, but now Lena is the best.
    • Oranges used to cost very little in Florida, but now they are quite expensive.

    Affirmative Sentences

    • 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.

    It is better not to use "used to" in questions or negative forms; however, this is sometimes done in informal spoken English. It is better to ask questions and create negative sentences using simple past.

    Negative Sentences

    • 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.

    Interrogative Sentences

    • 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?

    Getting used to

    People often get confused about the use of used to + infinitive and be/get used to + ‘ing’ form because they look similar. They are, however, completely different.

    ‘used to + infinitive’

    We use ‘used to’ to talk about things that happened in the past – actions or states – that no longer happen now.

    • She used to be a long distance runner when she was younger.
    • I used to eat meat but I became a vegetarian 5 years ago.

    The negative is ‘didn’t use to’ and questions are formed with ‘Did you use to …?’
    There is no present tense equivalent of ‘used to’. To talk about present habits we use the present simple and an adverb of frequency (usually, always, often, never, etc.)
    e.g. I often eat at the Japanese restaurant in the city centre.

    ‘be/get used to’

    If you are used to something, you are accustomed to it – you don’t find it unusual. If you get used to something or you are getting used to something you are becoming accustomed to it – it was strange, now it’s not so strange.

    • I found Slovak food very strange at first but I’m used to it now.
    • I’m getting used to driving on the right.

    Both ‘be used to’ and ‘get used to’ are followed by a noun (or pronoun) or the gerund – the ‘ing’ form of a verb.

    • I can’t get used to getting up so early. I’m tired all the time.
    • He’s not used to the weather here yet. He’s finding it very cold.

    Be/get used to’ can be used with past, present and future tenses.

    • You might find it strange at first but you’ll soon get used to it.
    • He wasn’t used to the heat and he caught sunstroke.


    "Would" is most commonly used to create conditional verb forms. It also serves as the past form of the modal verb "will." Additionally, "would" can indicate repetition in the past. For more information on the grammar behind the modal verb "would," visit the following tutorials: Conditional Tutorial, Future in the Past, and Would Always.


    • If he were an actor, he would be in adventure movies. conditional
    • I knew that she would be very successful in her career. past of "will"
    • When they first met, they would always have picnics on the beach. repetition


    "Could" is used to express possibility or past ability as well as to make suggestions and requests. "Could" is also commonly used in conditional sentences as the conditional form of "can."


    • Extreme rain could cause the river to flood the city. possibility
    • Nancy could ski like a pro by the age of 11. past ability
    • You could see a movie or go out to dinner. suggestion
    • Could I use your computer to email my boss? request
    • We could go on the trip if I didn't have to work this weekend. conditional


    "Should" is most commonly used to make recommendations or give advice. It can also be used to express obligation as well as expectation.


    • When you go to Berlin, you should visit the palaces in Potsdam. recommendation
    • You should focus more on your family and less on work. advice
    • I really should be in the office by 7:00 AM. obligation
    • By now, they should already be in Dubai. expectation


    "Might" is most commonly used to express possibility. It is also often used in conditional sentences. English speakers can also use "might" to make suggestions or requests, although this is less common in American English.


    • Your purse might be in the living room. possibility
    • If I didn't have to work, I might go with you. conditional
    • You might visit the botanical gardens during your visit. suggestion
    • Might I borrow your pen? request


    "Must" is most commonly used to express certainty. It can also be used to express necessity or strong recommendation, although native speakers prefer the more flexible form "have to." "Must not" can be used to prohibit actions, but this sounds very severe; speakers prefer to use softer modal verbs such as "should not" or "ought not" to dissuade rather than prohibit.


    • This must be the right address! certainty
    • Students must pass an entrance examination to study at this school. necessity
    • You must take some medicine for that cough. strong recommendation
    • Jenny, you must not play in the street! prohibition

    Simple Fact

    • He works in a bank.
    • I play golf every Monday.

    Attitude about someone else's habit

    • Today, we're eating dinner at 5:00 because we're going to a movie.
    • He doesn't drink coffee in the morning.

    Someone's typicall behavior

    • He's always losing things or forgetting where he's put things.
    • Nothing ever upsets her or annoys her or worries her.

    Used to + infinitive

    We use ‘used to’ to talk about things that happened in the past – actions or states – that no longer happen now.

    • She used to be a long distance runner when she was younger.
    • I used to eat meat but I became a vegetarian 5 years ago.

    Modals with certain of possible

    • They might come later.
    • They may come by car.

    Have + Past Participle

    • I have written a letter.
    • I have driven a car.
    • We have tried to do our best.
    • We have finished the race.
    • I have read that book.


    • Firstly, we learn how to cook, secondly we learn how to clean.


    • Finally, attach a small tray to keep accessories close at hand.


    • There are basically two types: clumping and trailing.

    Another thing

    • You ate the last piece of cake, and another thing, there's no bread left.

    As far as

    • As far as I'm concerned, that was the best film of the year.


    • I suppose that 's what draws people into keeping exotic animals.


    • Anyway, it isn't any of her business.

    Methaphors and idioms with:


    Literally.- He hit me in the head with a stick .

    Figuratively.- She's the head of the company.


    Literally.- The doctor will check my heart.

    Figuratively.- He has a heart of stone.


    Literally = I hurt my leg in the race.

    Figuratively = Breake a leg! (Good Luck!)


    Literally = I took the money with my left hand.

    Figuratively = Give me a hand.

    Synonyms of

    Concerned: perturbed, disturbed.

    Describe: detail, define.

    Loathed: detest, hate.

    Buddies: pal, mate.

    Unfortunate: doomed, forsaken.

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