used to

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  • Post category:Bahasa Inggris
  • Post last modified:October 8, 2021
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Study this example situation:

Nicola doesn’t travel much these days.
She prefers to stay at home.

But she used to travel a lot.
She used to go away two or three times a year.

She used to travel a lot = she travelled oft en in the past, but
she doesn’t do this any more

I used to do something = I did it oft en in the past, but not any more:

  • I used to play tennis a lot, but I don’t play very much now.
  • David used to spend a lot of money on clothes. These days he can’t aff ord it.
  • ‘Do you go to the cinema much?’ ‘Not now, but I used to.’ (= I used to go)

We also use used to … for things that were true, but are not true any more:

  • This building is now a furniture shop. It used to be a cinema.
  • I used to think Mark was unfriendly, but now I realise he’s a very nice person.
  • I’ve started drinking coff ee recently. I never used to like it before.
  • Lisa used to have very long hair when she was a child.

‘I used to do something’ is past. There is no present. You cannot say ‘I use to do’.

To talk about the present, we use the present simple (I do).


  • We used to live in a small village, but now we live in a city.
  • There used to be four cinemas in the town. Now there is only one.

The normal question form is did (you) use to … ? :

  • Did you use to eat a lot of sweets when you were a child? (= did you do this oft en?)

The negative form is didn’t use to … (used not to … is also possible):

  • I didn’t use to like him. (or I used not to like him.)

Compare I used to do and I was doing:

  • I used to watch TV a lot. (= I watched TV oft en in the past, but I don’t do this any more)
  • I was watching TV when Rob called. (= I was in the middle of watching TV)

Do not confuse I used to do and I am used to doing (see Unit 61). The structures and meanings
are diff erent:

  • I used to live alone. (= I lived alone in the past, but I no longer live alone.)
  • I am used to living alone. (= I live alone, and it’s not a problem for me because I’ve lived alone for some time.)

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