Grammar » A2 Grammar lessons and exercises » Used to, didn’t use to – past habits and states
Exercises Explanation Downloads
  • Used to, didn’t use to – past habits and states

    Exercise 1

    Choose the correct forms to complete the sentences below.

    1 What music to like when you were a child?

    2 I listen to music when I was a child.

    3 We to the cinema at weekends.

    4 They in the country, but now they live in the city

    5 I the cake you made me last week.

    6 have long hair when you were younger?

    7 She very tall when she was in school.

    8 I to bed very late on Fridays and Saturdays.

    9 Robert in a band.

    10 I my right arm in a skiing accident when I was 21.


  • Used to, didn’t use to – Grammar chart

    Grammar chart explaining 'Used to' and 'Didn’t use to' for expressing past habits and states, contrasted with 'Usually' for present habits, with form and example sentences.

    Download full-size image from Pinterest

    Used to

    Past habits

    We use used to to talk about past habits or things that happened repeatedly in the past but don’t happen any more.

    • I used to play chess every day, but now I don’t play very often.
    • When the economy was better, we used to eat out every week.

    Past states

    We use used to with non-action verbs (be, have, etc.) for past states: things that were true in the past but are not true any more.

    • She used to be very shy when she was a child.
    • I used to like her music, but now I hate it.

    Didn’t use to, did you use to?

    We use did/didn’t + use to for negatives and questions.

    • He didn’t use to travel a lot.
    • Did he use to live here?’ ‘Yes, he did.’

    We can also use never for negatives

    • We never used to argue.

    Past simple vs used to

    Past simple + always, usually, often, etc.

    We can also use the past simple tense + frequency adverbs for past habits.

    • I always met her at the bar down the street. (= I used to meet …)
    • I usually had a big salad for dinner. (= I used to have …)

    Past simple (NOT used to)

    But we use the past simple (NOT used to) for actions that happened once or when we mention when they happened.

    • Last week, I used to meet her at the bar down the street. blank
    • Last week, I met her at the bar down the streetblank
    • I used to have a big salad for dinner last Sundayblank
    • I had a big salad for dinner last Sundayblank

    Usually or used to?

    Used to is only used in the past. To talk about present habits, we should use the present simple tense with usually or normally.

    • I use get up very early at weekends. blank
    • I usually get up very early at weekends. blank
    • We don’t use to play on Sunday. blank
    • We don’t usually play on Sunday. blank
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