Used To

"Used To" Explanation

  • This is Jack. He gave up smoking two years ago. He no longer smokes. But he used to smoke. He used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day.
He used to smoke means that he smoked regularly for some time in the past, but he doesn't smoke now :

We use used to with the infinitive (used to do/ used to smoke etc.) to say that something regularly happened in the past but no longer happens. Let's see the following examples :
  • I used to play tennis a lot, but now I'm too lazy.
  • Do you go to the cinema very often?'  'Not now, but I used to.'

We also use used to for past situations (which no longer exist). Let's see the following examples :

  • we used to live in a small village but now we live in Jakarta.
  • This building is now a furniture shop. It used to be a cinema

Used to + infinitive is always past. There is no present. You
cannot say   'I use to do'.  For the present ' use the present simple (I do). Let's see the following examples !

 Past  Present
 He used to smoke.
 I used to live.
 There used to be ....
 He smokes.
 I  live.
 There is .....

The normal question form is did ... use to ...? Let's see the following examples :

  • Did you use to eat a lot of sweets when you were a child?
The negative form is didn't use to ... (or  'used not to'). Let's see the following examples :

  • Jack didn't use to go  out very often until he met Jane.
Be careful not to confuse I used to do and I am used to doing. Structures and meanings are different. Let's see the following examples !
  • I used  to live alone . (= I lived alone but no longer live alone.)
  • I am used to living alone .(= I live alone and don't find it strange or new because I've been living alone for some time.)


Complete the sentences below with used to !

1. The baby doesn't cry so much now but she ................ every night.
2. She ................... my best friend but we aren't friends any longer.
3. We live in Bandung now but we ............... in Jakarta.
4. Now there's only one woman in my heart but there.............. three.
5. When I was a child I ................. football, but I don't like it now.

English Grammar Books

Subpages (1): Exercise Key