1. FORM AND MEANING:
Used to is followed by an infinitive. Notice the spelling in questions and negatives:
- It used to take me over an hour to get to work.
- Supermarkets didn’t use to be open on Sundays in Britain.
- Did you use to get free lunch at school?
* Don’t confuse used to + infinitive with be/get used to (+ verb -ing) which means “be/become accustomed to”:
- I used to exercise every morning. (= I exercised every mỏning at a time in the past.)
- He wasn’t used to living on his own. (= He wasn’t accustomed to it.)
- We are getting used to the new technology. (= We are becoming accustomed to it.)
2. PAST HABITS
Both forms describe actions which happened regularly in the past but no longer happen (or vice versa) or now happen with more or less frequency:
- Jack used to wake up early every Monday. (Now he doesn’t .)
- We would get up early every Sunday to go to church. (We don’t now.)
To avoid confusion with other uses of would, we usually mention the past time or situation:
- I would talk him about the scholarship in the days before he passed his test.
3. PAST STATES
We use “used to” to describe past states which have changed:
- Lithuania used to be part of the Soviet Union. (It isn’t now.)
- There didn’t use to be any crime around here in the old days. (There is now.)
* We cannot use would for past states:
- France would be a monarchy, but now it’s a republic. (Wrong)
- France used to be a monarchy, but now it’s a republic. (Correct)
Main IELTS Pages:
This website is to develop your IELTS skills with tips, model answers, lessons, free books, and more. Each section (Listening, Speaking, Writing, Reading) has a complete collection of lessons to help you improve your IELTS skills.
Subscribe for free IELTS lessons/Books/Tips/Sample Answers/Advice from our IELTS experts. We help millions of IELTS learners maximize their IELTS scores!
Latest posts by Huy Quoc (see all)
- English Collocations in Use – Intermediate (Ebook) - May 26, 2017
- Fall From Grace – Idiom Of The Day For IELTS - February 7, 2017
- Stir Up A Hornet’s Nest – Idiom Of The Day For IELTS - February 5, 2017