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The Uses “Used To” in English

The Uses “Used To” in English

Let’s learn the uses of “Used To” in English written communication. In this article, Sir Syed Kazim Ali, the best CSS English teacher in Pakistan, has explained how to use the expressions, such as “Used To”, “Be Used To”, “Will Be Used To”, and “Get Used To”, and their proper usage by dozens of examples. Most non-native students don’t know their appropriate usage and commit mistakes while using them in sentences.

How to use the expressions USED TO / WOULD / BE USED TO + Present Participle (4th Form of the Verb)

The Usage of “USED TO”:

The expression “Used To” is one of the most incomprehensible expressions. Most non-native don’t understand its usage in a sentence while writing formally. I have explained the usage of the expression in detail hereunder.

The First Use of “USED TO”:

We use the expression “Used To” when we want to talk about our PASTHabits” or “Repeated” actions, which we don’t do in the present.

Examples:

  • Muthar used to smoke, but now he doesn’t do/smoke.
  • There used to be a house on that corner.
  • I used to live in London, but now I live in Pakistan.
  • She used to like when I was preparing for the CSS exam.
  • I never used to smoke like chain smokers.
  • Ambar used to go on holiday to New York every year, but she doesn’t now.
  • My cousin used to play cricket for Pakistan, but he is too old now.
  • My friend and I did use to go to the game on Sunday.
  • Alia used to drink tea every morning, but now she drinks milk.
  • He used to drive the car fast, for he had to drop his wife at the bus station daily.
  • I and my wife, who is my cousin, used to visit the countryside every Sunday when we were kids.
  • Before the launch of Howfiv website in Pakistan, academy mafia used to trap millions of candidates, through Facebook pages and groups, Instagram profiles, and YouTube channels, in the name of One Paper Exam preparation.
  • The recent reports reveal that the former Prime Minister of the country used to eat a lot.
  • Highly advertised academies and qualifiers used to exploit competitive aspirants psychologically and financially; however, now the aspirants know that only experienced teachers, not the qualifiers, can help them qualify for the CSS and PMS exams. 

To make Negative Sentences, we use the following structure:

Subject + Didn’t + Use + To + V (1st) + Other Elements

  1. I didn’t use to smoke.
  2. She didn’t use to live in London.

In order to make Interrogative Sentences, we use the following structure:

Did + Subject + Use + To + V (1st) + Other Elements?

  1. Did she use to live in London?
  2. Did they use to go on holiday to New York every year?

Difference Between “USE” and “USED TO”:

USE:

The word “USE” is a verb. It can also appear before the preposition “TO”, but “USE TO” is not the synonym of “USED TO”.

  1. There is no use of this computer.
  2. I could use the help in case of emergency.
  3. How do you use it?
  4. What does she use to decorate cookies? (Prepositional Phrase)
  5. Chocolates are used to decorate cookies. (Passive Voice)

In the 5th sentence, we have used the word “USED”, but it is a past participle (3rd form of the verb) – not the expression “USED TO”.

USED TO:

Whereas, “USED TO” is an expression that is used to talk about our past habits and repeated actions that we don’t have or do now.

The Second Use of “Used To”:

We also use the expression “Used To” when we want to talk about the PASTSituations”, “State” or “State of Being”, which are no longer “True” or “Exist”.

Examples:

  1. My sister used to have long hair, but now she has short hair. (No longer exist or true now)
  2. When I was young, I used to have an iPhone. (No longer exist or true now)
  3. The house, which is located at the corner of the street, used to belong to my wife. (No longer exist or true now)
Joyful Learning of Kids Starts at Kids Corner

How can we use the modal verb “WOULD” in place of the expression “Used To”?

If we are talking about our past repeated actions or habits, we can use either “Used To” or “Would”. In this case, both have the same meaning. But always remember, we don’t use “Would” in place of “Used To” when we want to talk about “States” in the past.

Examples:

  1. She used to drink tea every morning.
  2. She would drink tea every morning.
  3. He used to do exercise daily before work.
  4. He would do exercise daily before work.
  5. When I lived in London, I used to go to KFC near to my office.
  6. When I lived in London, I would go to KFC near to my office.
  7. She would have long hair, but now she has short hair. (Incorrect)
    She used to have long hair, but now she has short hair. (Correct)
  8. The house, which is located at the corner of the street, would belong to my wife.
    The house, which is located at the corner of the street, used to belong to my wife.

Important Points:

Always remember, the state verbs always tell us a state or state of being, not the actions. So, it is grammatically incorrect to use “WOULD” with state verbs because they don’t describe actions.

State Verbs:

Have, Own, Possess, Consist, Involve, Include, Sound, Hear, Smell, See, Look, Taste, Touch, Mind, Feel, Care, Prefer, Adore, Hate, Love, Like, Dislike, Need, Desire, Wish, Hope, Value, Know, Believe, Doubt, Think, Suppose, Recognize, Consider, Forget, Remember, Disagree, Deny, Promise, Realize, Astonish, Cost, Owe, Seem, Depend, Weigh, Measure, etc.

  • The castle would be a school, but it is a restaurant now. (Situation/State)

The castle used to be a school, but it is a restaurant now. (Situation/State)

  • He would believe in many gods, but now he believes in the oneness of God.

He used to believe in many gods, but now he believes in the oneness of God.

  • She would doubt David before marrying him.

She used to doubt David before marrying him.

The Uses of “Be Used To + Noun” and “Be Used To + Present Participle (4th form of the Verb)

To help students understand the concepts thoroughly, I have explained each of the concepts in 2 steps.

1- Be Used To + Present Participle (4th form of the Verb): (Be Used to Doing Something)

  • We use “Be Used To + Verb-ing” to talk about places, activities or routines that we are familiar with or habituated or accustomed to.
  • We use the structure/expression to talk about Present and Past.
  • Is/am/are/was/were + used to always take present participle (Not the 1st form of the verb).

The structure is the following:

Subject + Is/Am/Are/Was/Were Used To + Present Participle + Other Elements

Examples:

  • Badar is/was used to study English grammar daily.

Badar is/was used to studying English grammar daily.

  • I am/was used to help my wife in washing clothes.

I am/was used to helping my wife in washing clothes.

  • They are/were used to drive the car fast.

They are/were used to driving the car fast.

  • He is used to get up early in the morning, so he doesn’t mind doing it.

He is used to getting up early in the morning, so he doesn’t mind doing it.

  • I am used to get up late, so I will not mind helping you fix the tap.

I am used to getting up late, so I will not mind helping you fix the tap.

Important Points:

Never say, I use to study stories. Always say, I am used to studying stories.

The expression “Used To” doesn’t exist in English language. Most non-native students write it to talk about present habits and repeated actions. Always remember, whenever you want to talk about present habits or repeated actions, you have to use “Is/Am/Are Used To”.

I am used to travelling by car. (Not – use to travel)

She is used to slapping her younger brothers. (Not – use to slap)

They are used to flying kites. (Not – use to fly)

2- Be Used To + Noun: (Be Used to Something)

  • We use the structure “Be Used To + Noun” to talk about our present or past habits or states.
  • When we want to talk about familiarity, we use the structure “Be Used To + Present Participle (4th form of the Verb)”. Whereas, when we want to talk about our habits and state, we use the structure “Be Used To + Noun”.

Examples:

  • I am/was used to home chores. (Home chores are/was normal for me)
  • I am/was used to rain. (Rain is/was normal for me)
  • She is/was used to disappointment. (Disappointment is/was normal for her)
  • My wife and I are/were used to gardening. (Gardening is/was our habit)
  • You are/were used to Anam’s jokes. (Anum’s jokes were normal for you)
  • He is/was not used to hard work.
  • Are/Were you used to KFC?
  • When I lived in South Africa, I was used to hot weather.
  • They have been used to snakes for a long time.
  • She has been used to loneliness for years.
  • Ali has not been used to loneliness for years.
  • Has Ali been used to loneliness for years?
  • Has Ali not been used to loneliness for years?
  • Why has Ali been used to loneliness for years?
  • They had been used to hot weather before they moved to Pakistan.
  • They had not been used to hot weather before they moved to Pakistan.
  • Had they been used to hot weather before they moved to Pakistan?
  • Where had they been used to hot weather before they moved to Pakistan?
  • We have lived in Germany for almost all of our life, so we are used to raining.
  • India’s cricket team always lose, so Indians are used to disappointment.
  • India still uses aggression against Kashmiris, so Kashmiris are used to Indian violence.  

The Uses of “Will Be Used To”:

We use the expression “Will Be Used To” for future tense when we want to talk about routines, places, or activities that we will familiar with or accustom to.

Examples:

  • She will soon be used to living alone.
  • You will soon be used to driving on the main road when you learn how to drive safely.
  • If you listen to my lectures carefully, you will soon be used to confidently giving your thoughts words.

The uses of “Get Used To”:

We use the structure “Get Used To + Verb-ing” to talk about the change in life, situation, or condition – from abnormal to normal. We use this structure in any tense.

  • Don’t worry, if you cannot write your viewpoints well on a given topic, you will get used to writing them correctly if you get your write-ups evaluated daily.
  • It takes an aspirants 4 to 5 months to get used to writing grammatically correct.
  • It will take you a few months to get used to living peacefully with your husband.
  • I couldn’t learn the proper English language, so I got used to committing a lot of grammatical mistakes while attempting an essay paper.
  • Before learning and practising the English language to the advanced level, I got used to using inappropriate vocabulary; thus, I couldn’t qualify for the CSS exam.

Share this article to all of your friends who love learning creative writing and help them write grammatically correct.

The article is written by Sir Syed Kazim Ali, the best English teacher in Pakistan. Because of his unique coaching style, Sir Kazim is known among all qualified and passionate competitive aspirants. He is capable enough of letting his students learn and have complete command over writing skills within months. He earned his repute among GRE, GAT, GMAT, IELTS, and Creative Writing students across the world by introducing a new style of providing coaching. CSSPrepForum has requested him to write to know Pakistani competitive students how to give their opinions grammatically correct, in exams.

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22 Comments

  • Arham
    December 25, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Great work!!! Indeed

    Reply
  • Dr. Shazia Shabir
    December 25, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Wow, how beautifully it is explained! Thank you cssprepforum for such a nice contribution.

    Reply
  • Nimra
    December 25, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Jazak allah for sharing this CSS prep forum.

    Reply
  • Eng. Tariq
    December 25, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Well explained Sir. You really know how to impart a concept. Love reading this article. Sir, kindly write an article on the uses of punctuation. They always confuse CSS students.

    Reply
  • Shafiullah
    December 25, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    How to contact Sir Syed Kazim Ali? I have heard about him at every forum. By reading this article, now I am sure seniors were telling the truth about him. May I have his contact number?

    Reply
  • Shafaq Murad
    December 25, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    I had been looking to find out a reasonable explanation on this concept, as it confused me the most. I don’t know much about the author, but whatever I have seen students raving for his pedagogy is truly reflected here. Now, I know why is he topping the list of best English Teachers.
    Thank you sir for bringing in this!
    It will be great if more confusing concepts like these are explained through a series. It will be a great help or if sir’s contact could be provided!
    Commendable!!!!

    Reply
  • Mathew Martin
    December 25, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Dude, You once again nailed the concept for your students. Accept our regards.

    Reply
  • Haseeb Athar
    December 25, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Sir can you also make a youtube video on this please or give us classes?

    Reply
  • Huzaifa Rana
    December 25, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Thank you so much Sir Kazim Ali for such a precise explanation. I was always confused about the usage of used to, so I couldn’t use it in my writings. This article has cleared my concepts. I’ll now use it in my write-ups without any confusion. Thanks again 😊

    Reply
  • Iqra Sultan
    December 25, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Thank you so much, sir, for such a comprehensive and detailed article.

    Reply
  • Hassan Afridi
    December 25, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Thank you sir for this detail. I was always confused about its usage, and now after reading the article my all confusion has vanished.

    Reply
  • Priyanka
    December 25, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I must appreciate the efforts. I am looking for the uses of infinitives. Cssprepforum can you get this teacher written on them too?

    Reply
  • Saad Munir
    December 25, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Jazak Allah sir for the article. Very detailed and well explained.

    Reply
  • Alia Nahid
    December 25, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Sir Syed Kazim Ali is really a “GIN”. He knows how to explain and what to explain to let students grab the concepts. Sir, you are amazing. Love to see people like you in Pakistan.

    Reply
  • Hammad Ali
    December 25, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Sir you really have explained the article in a very broad way. Thank you sir for your effort. It is very helpful.

    Reply
  • Naveed (ADPP)
    December 25, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Sir thanks for writing this. I have always requested you to publish your English writing concepts. Well, I am sure, if you have started writing them, nobody in Pakistan could match you.

    Reply
  • Mohammad Hamza
    December 25, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    CSS Prep forum can you plz launch your youtube channel, so that these concepts are explained in urdu too for many natives.

    Reply
  • Capt. Aqeel
    December 25, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    There would never be a match of Sir Syed Kazim Ali, in Pakistan. He is the man who has turned thousands successful. Proud to be your student, Sir. Whatever I am, it is just because of you. Salute you Sir.

    Reply
  • Shahid Numan
    December 25, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Perfect article by a perfect teacher. I have never seen such a mind in my life. You were the man who really deserved the credit for my qualifying CSS and PMS. Love you sir!

    Reply
  • Fizza Ikram
    December 25, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Another precise explanation by Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Thank you so much sir for never failing in clearing my confusions. You are a true English Language maestro. 💯

    Reply
  • Zaki Ullah (SDO Wapda)
    December 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Sir when do you start session? I am CSS aspirant and planning to prepare for it, I have joined Kips in Lahore but they dont teach like you have explained. I was searching your contact number. May I have sir?

    Reply
  • Shafaq Zahra
    December 25, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Amazingly explained. Who is this teacher, and where he lived? I need to contact him. I was searching such a coach for learning English professionally.

    Reply

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