Learn and practise the construction used to.A 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 often in the past, but
she doesn’t do this any more.
B I used to do something = I did it often 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.
- 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.
- Did you use to eat a lot of sweets when you were a child? (= did you do this often?)
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.)
- I used to watch TV a lot. (= I watched TV often 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. The structures and meanings are different:
- 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.)