Used To

Miscellaneous - Lesson #4

We can talk about things that happened in past, but now do not happen with "used to + verb".

So, if you hear the sentence:
  • I used to live in New York.
Then, you know that person does not live in New York now, but they did in the past.

We make the sentence like this.

Subject + used to + verb…
  • I used to go dancing every weekend when I was young.
  • I used to play videos game every day when I was in high school.
  • She used to work here.
  • Nick used to be a chef.
  • They used to be best friends.
It is common to use "but" with these sentences.
  • I used to live with Jon, but now I live alone.
  • He used to drink a lot, but now he never drinks alcohol.
  • They used to be married, but they got a divorce.
  • I used to like jazz, but now I like classical music.
  • We used to have a dog, but we got rid of it because our daughter is allergic to dogs.
It is also possible to use this sentence for things that still happen in the present if the present situation is different from the past.
  • I used to drink a lot of coffee, but these days I only drink one cup a day.
  • She used to exercise every day, but now she exercises once or twice a week.
We can make yes/no questions with the following pattern.

Did + subject + use to + verb…?
  • Did you use to work for an insurance company?
  • Did he use to study at this university?
  • Did she use to take English classes with you?
We can also use question words.

Question word + did + subject + use to + verb…?
  • What did you use to like to do when you were young?
  • What kind of music did you use to listen to a lot?
  • Why did you use to eat so many sweet things?
This is a very specific grammar point, but it is used often and you definitely need to know it to be a fluent English speaker.

Example Questions and Sentences
  • I used to smoke, but I quit a year ago.
  • I used to think that roller coasters were scary, but now I love roller coasters.
  • She used to play the guitar, but she hasn't played for many years.
  • He used to be a good worker, but he is lazy these days.
  • He used to be afraid of dogs, but now he likes dogs and actually has 2 dogs of his own.
  • You used to overweight, are you dieting these days?
  • The boys used to be interested in cars, but now they like animals.
  • They used to play music every day after school.

  • Did you use to live in this neighborhood?
  • Did she use to date him?
  • Did he use to do boxing as a hobby?
  • Did they use to work here?
  • Did this store use to be cheaper?
  • What did you use to do for fun when you lived in New York?
  • Where did you use to go when you lived in Paris?
  • Why did you use to hide your money under your mattress?
English Conversation 1

A) Isn't this your neighborhood?
B) No. I used to live here, but I moved a couple of months ago.
A) But you still know this area very well.
B) Yes, I know this area very well.
A) How is that restaurant across the street?
B) That place is great. I used to go there a lot.
A) Do you want to go there now?
B) Sure.

English Conversation 2

A) I love pop music.
B) I used to love pop music, but now I only listen to hip-hop.
A) Why? Hip-hop has too many bad lyrics.
B) I used to think that too, but if you listen carefully you realize that many of the words are beautiful and inspirational.
A) Can you recommend a couple of songs for me to listen to?
B) Sure. Let me think about it for a while and then I will tell you.

Practice speaking English by finishing the sentences below and then practice making your own sentences. It is the best way to learn English and improve your English fluency fast! Also, do not forget to try using it in real life.

Tip: Say the sentences aloud. This will help you practice speaking English and improve your English fluency.

I used to _______________.
I used to _______________, but now _______________.
I used to _______________ when I was _______________.
He used to _______________ a lot, but now he _______________.
She used to _______________ when she was in university.
They used to _______________ when they first joined the company.
We used to _______________ when we were young.
This neighborhood used to be _______________.