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    #1

    There used to be

    1. There used to be a tall tree by the gate.
    2. There was a tall tree by the gate.
    What's the difference in meaning between the above two sentences?
    I need native speakers' help.

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: There used to be

    They're almost the same.

    "Used to be" is an idiom that suggests a long, significant passage of time.

    - There used to be a tall tree by the gate, but it must be long gone by now.
    - There used to be a tall tree by the gate, and I remember playing under it when I was a child.
    - There used to be a tall tree by the gate, but that was before the town grew.

    "Used to be" implies that the tree is probably gone now. "Was" does not.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: There used to be

    I think "was" can also imply that the tree is no longer there. But the implication is stronger with "used to be".

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