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  1. Hedwig's Avatar
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    #1

    Didn't use(d) to

    I'd like to hear the teachers' views on didn't use to vs didn't used to. Should one be preferred over the other? Is there any rule?

    I ask because both phrases seem to be in use but the second one jars on my (non-native) ear. The double past tense just doesn't sound right to me. Perhaps I'm too punctilious?

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    #2

    Post Re: Didn't use(d) to

    *** NOT A TEACHER ***

    I apologise for not having waited for a teacher/native speaker, but you might find these links useful:

    1.) Used to: questions and negative forms

    For questions and negative forms, two forms of the verb are used - either the normal infinitive pattern after did (more common), or the past form used (less common):
    When you were a kid, did you use to think the sun revolved around the earth?

    When you were a kid, did you used to think the sun revolved around the earth?

    I didn't use to take such a large dress size, but now I do.

    I didn't used to take such a large dress size, but now I do.

    (By Roger Woodham from BBC Learning English)

    2.) 1.) didn't used to...? (WordReference.com)

    It is a bit of a consolation that it seems to puzzle even some native speakers.



    3.) Didn't used to vs. didn't use to?? (An old thread from this very site



    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    The double past tense just doesn't sound right to me.
    Same here, but what I think is of no importance, since I am neither an English teacher, nor a native English speaker. (The latter really hurts! They don't know how lucky they are. )

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Didn't use(d) to

    "Didn't used to" is wrong.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Didn't use(d) to

    Well, here's the thing.

    Regardless of whether you are saying "didn't used to" or "did use to" it will SOUND the same.

    Plus, people know to write "I used to." So it's not too surprising that people (myself included until an embarrassingly recent time in the past) write "Didn't used to."

    So say either one - no one will know. But make sure you WRITE "didn't use to."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Didn't use(d) to

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Regardless of whether you are saying "didn't used to" or "did use to" it will SOUND the same.
    That's one of the reasons for the problem

    Plus, people know to write "I used to." So it's not too surprising that people (myself included until an embarrassingly recent time in the past) write "Didn't used to."
    That doesn't really follow. People write "I liked to", but they don't write "I didn't liked to". I think it is because the "to" appears to be more closely fused to "used" than it is to many other verbs, so that people subconsciously think of it as almost one word - "usedto/usta" - rather like "gotta" and, without the t, "wanna".

    So say either one - no one will know. But make sure you WRITE "didn't use to."
    Good advice.

    Logically, "I didn't used to" is, as konungursvia" wrote, wrong. However, one sees it so often, even in more serious newspapers and magazines, that one begins to feel that it has become accepted - but follow Barb's advice!

    I remember that when I was at school, I was reprimanded even for using "I didn't use to"; I was told that the correct form was "I used not to"; the question form was "used you to?" I still use these forms often, and they sound strange to some younger people.

  5. Hedwig's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Didn't use(d) to

    The phonetic explanation makes a lot of sense. Thanks to everyone for all the input.

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Didn't use(d) to

    Slightly off-topic, but ought to is similar to used to in some ways. Despite the to, ought to is considered a (marginal) modal by some writers, and used to by a few. The 'correct' negative and interrogative forms of ought to are you ought not to and ought you to? respectively, but many speakers appear to be reluctant to use these. Some simply use should instead; some use the auxiliary DO - you didnt ought to, did you ought to?, though this is generally considered sub-standard; others still get round the problem by using such constructions as I don't think you ought to and do you think you ought to?

  7. Hedwig's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Didn't use(d) to

    I see. So that's why ought you to and oughtn't you to are so unusual, to the point of sounding a bit odd or old-fashioned. Always uncertain as to register and sounding natural, I choose should myself in such cases. It does remind me of usedn't to, which I was taught in primary school and never encountered again in my life.

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