In the English language, we use the phrase used to to describe something that we did in the past but that we do not do anymore. We can use this phrase to talk about past hobbies, jobs or even just habits that we have since left behind or replaced with new ones. For example, a former police officer might say, "I used to be a police officer before I retired." Someone who took regular nightly walks might say, "I used to walk down by the river as the sun was setting."
We can also use it to talk about realities that used to be relevant but have since ceased to be realities. For example, imagine someone is returning home to their old neighborhood, which has changed a lot since they have been there. They might say, "There used to be a building there" or "That’s where the old bridge used to be."
Forming used to phrases:
Used to phrases are formed, in the affirmative, as follows:
Subject + used to + verb
My mom + used to + dance competitively.
My mom used to dance competitively.
In this situation, the speaker is conveying that, in the past, their mom was a competitive dancer for a time, but has since stopped dancing competitively.
• My dad used to work for the State in the 1980′s.
• We used to all play basketball in the park together after school.
• My grandparents used to go on a date to the movies every Friday night when they were young.
• I used to read more books for leisure back when I was in high school.
Used to phrases are formed, in the negative, as follows:
Subject + didn’t + use to + verb
We + didn’t + use to + get up so early.
We didn’t use to get up so early.
In this situation, the speaker is conveying that, in the past, they (the speaker plus whoever they include within the group implied by the plural subject pronoun we) did not rise at such an early time in the morning and would in fact sleep later into the day than they do now.
• She didn’t use to ride as much as she does now.
• We didn’t use to go to the park as often as we do now.
• They didn’t use to enjoy one another’s company like they do now.
• I didn’t use to be as productive as I am these days.
• This town didn’t use to have as many stoplights as it does now.
Used to phrases are formed, in the interrogative, as follows:
Did + subject + use to + verb
Did + he + use to + have long hair?
Did he used to have long hair before he went bald?
• Did there use to be a cinema where they supermarket now is?
• Did John use to go clubbing much before he got married?
• Did we use to have a blue car or a red one?
• Did you use to play any sports?
• Did Sarah and Chelsea use to live together?
Note: In negative and interrogative sentences, the -d is removed from used to to make just use to. The reason for this is simply because it makes pronouncing the words easier.