This lesson about used to includes a grammar explanation, conversation questions and a grammar exercise. It is part of a complete B1 English course. you can find information about used to, get used to and be used to in our upper intermediate course.
We use used to to describe a habit or state in the past that contrasts with the present.
Emily used to crawl everywhere, but now she can walk.
This means that in the past, Emily crawled everywhere. Now, Emily can walk, so she doesn’t crawl everywhere. There is a difference between something she did a lot in the past and something that she does now.
Let’s look at another example.
In the past, before computers existed, writers used typewriters to write books. Nowadays, writers use computers with software to help them write. There is a difference between how people used to write books and how people write books now.
To use the verb used to, simply add a verb in the bare infinitive. The bare infinitive is just like the infinitive (to be, to do, to go) but without the to (be, do, go).
Look at these examples.
When Tom was younger he had short hair. Now that he is older, he is bald. Tom used to have short hair, but now he is bald.
When we use used to in negative, do not add the d at the end. This is because we use the verb in the bare infinitive form when we use it with an auxiliary verb.
Melissa didn’t use to have a tattoo
Melissa didn’t used to have a tattoo.
To make questions with used to, we also use the auxiliary verb do in the past form; did.
Did you use to have long hair when you were a teenager?
What games did you use to play when you were a kid?
Where did you use to live before you came to the city?
Check that you know how to use “used to” in positive, negative and questions with this interactive exercise!