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Thread: past vs used to

    • Join Date: Feb 2004
    • Posts: 27

    past vs used to

    Hello dear teachers.

    "In many cities nowadays, food shopping takes very little time. In the past, people used to go (1) to a different shop for each item. For example, you bought (2) meat at a butcher´s shop and fish at a fish market. A fruit market used to sell (3) fruit and vegetables. For dry foods like rice or beans, you had (4) to go to groceries stores." Jack C. Richards - New Interchange- Cambridge University Press.
    Can you tell me if in numbers 1 and 3 you could use the simple past without no difference in meaning. On the other hand, could I use "used to" in numbers 2 and 4 and maintain the same meaning or would the meaning become different by the change?

    Thank you.

    José Rocha

  1. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    Re: past vs used to

    You can make both changes you suggest without affecting the meaning. As we have the phrase 'in the past', 'used to' doesn't add or change much.

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