"Use to" or "Used to"?

What's this?

The first version "use to" is a verb form which means that there was something that I did in the past, but I now no longer do. 


The second version "used to" is an adjective form which means that I am accustomed to, or adjusted to something. 


Where's the problem?

Well, there are a two main things to think about here: 
The first one is that because the first form is always talking about things in the past, it normally (but not always) takes the past construction: "used to" which looks exactly like the second version....see the problem here?
The second is that the 'd' sound in "used to" is very weak, so when you hear a native say it, it does tend to sound exactly like the first version: "use to"... (great...uh?)

What can you do?

Look for the clues:
We apply the construction "use to + verb" when talking about things that we did, but no longer do. Because we're talking about the past, the form will take an -ed ending and look like this:
"I used to live in London." (I don't live in London any more.)
"I used to go swimming every day." (Now I do something else). We will see "use to" (the base form) when the past is described by another verb, like here:  - "David didn't use to like classical music." (now, apparently, he does).
- "Did your mother use to work at the University?" (we aren't sure). On the other hand, we use the construction "to be + used to" when we are talking about something that we are accustomed to. Sentences will look like this:
- "I'm used to my boss doing this: he always changes his mind." 
(I am accustomed to this behaviour).
- "Don't worry about the noise, my baby is used to it." (Her baby is adjusted to noisy conditions).
And sometimes you'll see both versions together in the same sentence:
- "I used to live in London, so I'm used to the noise.
(I no longer live in London and I'm accustomed to the noise).
6. Juli 2020
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Pete Mason

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I am from Scotland and I'm an experienced, qualified TESoL teacher. I have been teaching online and offline for the last 7 years in Poland. I have helped: - ambitious business professionals boost their promotion opportunities by elevating their communication efficiency to the next level, - determined university students gain entry to the University of their choice by honing their written skills, - committed life-long learners develop a robust English language learning habit that guarantees continued success through coaching and mentoring. I achieve these results by applying a variety of tools: the normal PPP method (Present, Practice, Produce), task-based learning and coaching techniques. Everyone learns in a different way, therefore my approach is quite flexible, but focused on achieving results. Lessons with me are relaxed and good-natured. I'm quite chilled out, but I expect my learners to perform! I frequently use the flipped classroom model, therefore you can expect to do a lot of work in your own time.
Flag
Englisch
globe
Vereinigtes Königreich
time
22
Spricht:
Englisch
Muttersprachler
,
Polnisch
B1
I am from Scotland and I'm an experienced, qualified TESoL teacher. I have been teaching online and offline for the last 7 years in Poland. I have helped: - ambitious business professionals boost their promotion opportunities by elevating their communication efficiency to the next level, - determined university students gain entry to the University of their choice by honing their written skills, - committed life-long learners develop a robust English language learning habit that guarantees continued success through coaching and mentoring. I achieve these results by applying a variety of tools: the normal PPP method (Present, Practice, Produce), task-based learning and coaching techniques. Everyone learns in a different way, therefore my approach is quite flexible, but focused on achieving results. Lessons with me are relaxed and good-natured. I'm quite chilled out, but I expect my learners to perform! I frequently use the flipped classroom model, therefore you can expect to do a lot of work in your own time.
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