Interested in Language
He . smoke a lot.
a)had used to
c)used to (Answer Key)
d)was used to
Can option "a" (had used to) be correct too? If not then in what circumstance it can be correct?
Source: School Exam
A search of the British National Corpus brings up...
'He felt suddenly a brief return of the closeness they had used to enjoy when the children were small and she still felt important to them and minded less his involvement with his work.'
So it looks like you can use 'had used to' as the past perfect of 'used to'. So in theory when you are telling a story at one point in the past and then you want to jump further back in time; however, as a native speaker, my instinct tells me the 'had' is redundant and doesn't flow so well. I'm struggling to come up with an example for smoking that doesn't sound wrong. I certainly wouldn't expect to see this usage in an exam, though you'd probably have grounds to argue for the mark.
Is there that much of a case when there's no context? There's one blindingly obvious answer and anyone who knows that had used to appears occasionally, though isn't really a standard form, would go for c). It's a bit of a weak case for me.
Charles Dickens might have written "had used to" in some contexts.