Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 379
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Post 'Did you use to...' implies?

    Dear friends,

    Please help me with this question: when I ask somebody 'did you use to be a teacher?', I must have known that he or she isn't a teacher now, otherwise it is inappropriate to ask this question?

    Is it true for all similar questions? 'Did you use to live in Taiwan?' implying that I know you don't live in Taiwan at the moment of speaking?

    Thank you!

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,167
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    Please help me with this question: when I ask somebody 'did you use to be a teacher?', I must have known that he or she isn't a teacher now, otherwise it is inappropriate to ask this question?
    Yes, unless you are being sarcastic about a teacher who is, in your opinion, past their best.

    Is it true for all similar questions? 'Did you use to live in Taiwan?' implying that I know you don't live in Taiwan at the moment of speaking? Yes
    5

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 379
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    Thank you, 5jj!

  2. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 15,873
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    The point it that there is the possibility of irony in the choice of this tense. What it means, on the surface, is 'I know you are not any more'; in fact, if the supposition is wrong, the answer may correct it:

    Q: 'Did you use to be a teacher?'
    A: '["Use to?"] I still am one.' (The echoing of the question is optional).

    Ironical usage is common. Say someone, in a group in a restaurant, divides the tab quickly and accurately. Someone else might ask 'Did you use to be an accountant?'

    b

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 379
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The point it that there is the possibility of irony in the choice of this tense. What it means, on the surface, is 'I know you are not any more'; in fact, if the supposition is wrong, the answer may correct it:

    Q: 'Did you use to be a teacher?'
    A: '["Use to?"] I still am one.' (The echoing of the question is optional).

    Ironical usage is common. Say someone, in a group in a restaurant, divides the tab quickly and accurately. Someone else might ask 'Did you use to be an accountant?'

    b
    Thanks a lot, teachers! I didn't expect this ironical usage. (sorry, I'm not sure if I have used the word 'expect' correctly. If I made a mistake, please do correct it for me! I mean I didn't even know there is such an ironical usage of the structure 'did you use to be...' )
    Last edited by Heidi; 28-Mar-2011 at 05:00.

  3. SanMar's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Feb 2011
    • Posts: 554
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    Hi,
    Is it use to or used to?


    Thanks:)

  4. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,167
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    Quote Originally Posted by SanMar View Post
    Is it use to or used to?
    Purists argue that it should be (1) used you to...? though you will rarely hear or see that form.

    (2) Did you use to ...? is generally accepted as correct.

    (3) Did you used to....? is incorrect, but you occasionally see it in print.

    It is difficult to tell whether people use (3) in speech, because it sounds the same as (2).

  5. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,167
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #8

    Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
    Thanks a lot, teachers! I didn't expect this ironical usage. (sorry, I'm not sure if I have used the word 'expect' correctly. If I made a mistake, please do correct it for me!
    You used the word 'expect' correctly.

    Please do not worry about the ironical usage. It might have been better if I had not mentioned it; I was just trying to cover all possibilities.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Taiwan
      • Current Location:
      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 379
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #9

    Talking Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    You used the word 'expect' correctly.Thanks!

    It might have been better if I had not mentioned it; I was just trying to cover all possibilities. No, I think that is great and I appreciate it. I always want to know something new, interesting and humorous. Thanks again!
    Heidi
    Last edited by Heidi; 28-Mar-2011 at 09:02.

  6. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 15,873
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #10

    Re: 'Did you use to...' implies?

    (Strictly, 'I didn't know there was...')

    'I didn't expect...' doesn't really work there, as I expect you guessed! You could say:

    • I didn't know
    • I never knew
    • I'd never've guessed ['never have', but it's usually elided]
    • That's a new one on me [very colloquial, especially if you use 'on'. Some teachers would prefer 'for' or 'to']
    • That's a new one.
    • ... [ Several other possibilities. I'm sure people will add a few.]


    b

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 20
    Last Post: 05-Aug-2008, 15:55

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •