Grammar » A2 Grammar lessons and exercises » Used to, didn’t use to – past habits and states » Page 3
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  • Used to, didn’t use to – past habits and states

    Exercise 3

    Complete the text with used to, didn’t use to, did … to and the words in brackets.

    Interviewer: What 1 (you/be) like when you were a child?

    Sally: I remember I 2 (wear) very thick glasses, and I 3 (be) quite short and uncoordinated. To be honest, I 4 (not like) myself very much. However, I'd say I had a very happy childhood.

    Interviewer: What 5 (you/do) for fun?

    Sally: Oh, I have great memories. We 6 (not have) phones or technology of any kind and the streets 7 (be) safer than now, so we 8 (play) outdoors all the time.

    Interviewer: 9 (you/get) good marks in school?

    Sally: Yes, I 10 (study) very hard.


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

    used to, didn’t use to – past habits and states

    Used to

    Past habits

    We use used to for past habits or things that happened repeatedly in the past, but they 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 they 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 met her at the bar down the street. (NOT I used to meet …)
    • I had a big salad for dinner last Sunday. (NOT I used to have …)


    Usually or used to?

    Used to is only used in the past. For present habits, we must use the present simple tense with usually or normally.

    • I usually get up very early at weekends. (NOT I use to get up …)
    • We don’t usually play on Sunday. (NOT We don’t use to play)
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