# Thread: Used to V and simple past tense.

1. Member
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Oct 2011
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249

## Used to V and simple past tense.

Hi!
1- He often swam in this river when he was young.
2- He used to swim in this river when he was young.

2. ## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

Of course there is a difference.
1-He used to swim in this river when he was young.

" Used to" describes something that happened regularly in the past but no longer happens today. The speaker in this example no longer swims in that river because it was just a past habit that no longer exists.
2-He often swam in this river when he was young.
The past simple, in contrast, simply situates something in the past. This person might still swim in that river today.

3. ## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

The difference is as nedira noted.

However in this particular example, either could be said of a person who no longer swims in the river, or who has returned to it for a nostalgic swim. The second could only be used if he stopped swimmingfor some time after he was young.

4. Member
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## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

Thank Ms.nedira and Mr.5jj. I get it now.
By the way, I have two exercises. I am confused without knowing what to choose. Could you please help me?

1-Our life is getting more and more comfortable than it...
A.did B.was C.was used to D.used to be

2- Our life is getting more and more comfortable than it....... years ago.
A.did B.was C.was used to D.used to be

5. ## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

I imagine that the compiler of that exercise was looking for D in the first and B in the second. That's fine, but I see nothing particularly 'wrong' about B in the first and D in the second.

6. Member
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## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

I have other questions.
1- The adverbs of the past time such as last week/month/year, weeks/months/years ago,etc are usually used in the simple past tense. Can they be used with USED TO V?

2- Last year I used to get up late. Now, I get up early and do morning exercises. Is this sentence right?

3- Besides the adverbial clause,WHEN + CLAUSE(simple past tense), can we use other ones such as WHILE/AFTER/BEFORE/UNTILL + CLAUSE with USED TO V?
Would you mind answering my questions?

7. ## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

Originally Posted by hoangkha
1- The adverbs of the past time such as last week/month/year, weeks/months/years ago,etc are usually used in the simple past tense. Can they be used with USED TO V?

2- Last year I used to get up late. Now, I get up early and do morning exercises. Is this sentence right?
Used to is not normally appropriate with specific past times.

Used to has the dual function of locating the habitual situation in past time and of emphasising its non-actualisation now. The past time period is not specified except in the most general terms:

1a. * I used to build model planes in 1994
1b. I used to build model planes.
1c. I used to build model planes when I was a kid.

In #1a, one point of interest is the specified time period. This does not fit well with the habitual but discontinued idea conveyed by used to, and the simple past-tense form of the verb would be used here. #1b is a natural use of the used to; with no specific past-time marker, the past-tense form of the verb would be unnatural. In #1c, the time period is broad enough for used to to be possible; as there is a specific time marker, the past-tense form would also be possible, but it would lack the discontinued idea of used to.

8. Member
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Posts
249

## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

1-It used to work when I first installed it last week.
2-This definitely used to work when I was marking a test.
3-How do people used to live in the past in united Arab emirates?
4-I used to fly my kites in my childhood.
5-She used to let me read her books when she was finished.

Last edited by hoangkha; 03-May-2012 at 21:00.

9. ## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

Originally Posted by hoangkha
1-It used to work when I first installed it last week.
Not natural.

2-This definitely used to work when I was marking a test.
Possible, if the test-marking happened during some past period, and no longer happens.

3-How do people used to live in the past in united Arab emirates?
How did people use to live ...
or: How did people live in the past in ...
If we use 'used to', we don't normally add 'in the past'.

4-I used to fly my kites in my childhood.
Fine.

5-She used to let me read her books when she was finished.
Possible, if this happened during some past period, and no longer happens.
All of these are covered by the general outline I gave in my post #7.

10. ## Re: Used to V and simple past tense.

1-It worked when I first installed it last week.
2-This definitely worked when I was marking a test.
3-How did people use to live in the past in United Arab Emirates?
4-I used to fly my kites in my childhood.
5-She used to let me read her books when she was finished.

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