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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #1

    Used to

    Hello guys,
    On my vacation I heard the expression "used to" many times.
    I asked about its meaning and got that explanation.
    When you did something once, you used to do it.
    Question: Do you often play table tennis?
    Answer: I used to play in a club.


    Why should we use "used to" at all?
    Can't the answer simply be:
    I played in a club.


    Cheers!

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Used to

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello guys,
    On my vacation I heard the expression "used to" many times.
    I asked about its meaning and got that explanation.
    When you did something once, you used to do it.
    Question: Do you often play table tennis?
    Answer: I used to play in a club.


    Why should we use "used to" at all?
    Can't the answer simply be:
    I played in a club.


    Cheers!
    When you say "you did something once", I assume you mean "you did something at one time, during one period in your life", not "you only did it one time/on one occasion".

    Basically it means that you did it in the past, but you don't do it now.

    I used to go linedancing three times a week, but now I'm too busy to do it at all.

    I used to speak French at work, but then I changed my job and I don't need it any more.

    It suggests that something was true but no longer is.

    If you simply say "I played in a club" then you could mean "I played in a club once but I never went back". By saying "used to", you get across the meaning of something you did regularly or for a longer period of time.

    I used to live in Germany.
    I lived in Germany for 10 years.
    I lived in Germany during the 1970s.
    I lived in Germany 20 years ago.

    With "used to", you don't need to specify a time period, or a timescale.

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    #3

    Re: Used to

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    When you say "you did something once", I assume you mean "you did something at one time, during one period in your life", not "you only did it one time/on one occasion".

    Basically it means that you did it in the past, but you don't do it now.

    I used to go linedancing three times a week, but now I'm too busy to do it at all.

    I used to speak French at work, but then I changed my job and I don't need it any more.

    It suggests that something was true but no longer is.

    If you simply say "I played in a club" then you could mean "I played in a club once but I never went back". By saying "used to", you get across the meaning of something you did regularly or for a longer period of time.

    I used to live in Germany.
    I lived in Germany for 10 years.
    I lived in Germany during the 1970s.
    I lived in Germany 20 years ago.

    With "used to", you don't need to specify a time period, or a timescale.
    Hi,
    do you think that "I used to live in Germany." is the same as or similar to "I lived in Germany"? I think the answer is yes since both sentences mean that you lived in Germany in the past but now you live somewhere else.

  3. philadelphia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Used to

    *Not a... You know

    I agree with emsr2d2. That being said, I would add used to may imply that something happened a long time ago while the simple past may not.

  4. #5

    Re: Used to

    I'd say that "I lived in Germany" expects a time after, like in the examples given before.
    It's not required but it might seem awkward without it, like a cut off sentence.

    Another difference is that "used to" implies period of time, like in the previous example:

    "I used to speak French at work, [...]"

    On the other hand if you change it to:

    "I spoke French at work, [...]"

    This could imply that french was just used once.

    Also, sometimes "used to" is spelled "use to" but this is only if there is a "did" or "didn't" somewhere in the sentence.
    For example:
    - Didn't you use to like that girl?
    - I really did use to drink a lot of Coca-Cola, didn't I?

    Also don't confuse this "use(d) to" with "get used to" which means 'become familiar with'.

    I hope that helps!

    James
    Last edited by JamesAtRealize; 24-Jul-2010 at 14:53.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Used to

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesAtRealize View Post



    Also don't confuse this "use(d) to" with "get use to" which means 'become familiar with'.


    James
    That should be "get used to".

  6. #7

    Re: Used to

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    That should be "get used to".
    That's right! Pardon the typo! (or was it just ignorance?) I'll edit the post to clear up any future confusion

    Thanks for catching that!

    James

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Used to

    A pragmatic reality is this:
    If you say, "I used to play tennis", your hearer will understand that you mean at some time in the past that's not important.
    If you say, "I played tennis," you are far more likely to be asked, "When?" It's a statement that seems more important to the current context.

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