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  1. man of manners's Avatar
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    #1

    Question tag He used only to play football...

    Hi!
    This is a new thread in which we will discuss some problematic sentences that need suitable question tags.
    The sentence is:

    He used only to play football, ..............?

    Thanks in advance!
    I am not a teacher, but you can trust my answers only if you feel convinced. If not, keep asking till you finally find what you want *The Truth*.

  2. man of manners's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Question tag He used only to play football...

    I think the question tag is, theoretically not practically, "usedn't he?" because as we can see, the adverb "only" is used after the verb, which indicates it is used as a modal verb.
    I am not a teacher, but you can trust my answers only if you feel convinced. If not, keep asking till you finally find what you want *The Truth*.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Question tag He used only to play football...

    It doesn't really matter where you place 'only', though your sentence has it in an an unusual position. I'd guess that most of those native speakers who used a question tag would say didn't he? I don't think I have ever heard anyone say usedn't he?

  4. man of manners's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Question tag He used only to play football...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    though your sentence has it in an an unusual position.
    That is because we don't use adverbs after verbs except modal/semi-modal verbs. Since we used an adverb after a verb, this means it is a modal verb. Also, since "used to" can be an ordinary verb or a semi-modal, we know in this sentence that it is used as a modal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I don't think I have ever heard anyone say usedn't he?
    This is because it is not used except in formal or old-fashioned contexts.
    I am not a teacher, but you can trust my answers only if you feel convinced. If not, keep asking till you finally find what you want *The Truth*.

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    #5

    Re: Question tag He used only to play football...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I don't think I have ever heard anyone say usedn't he?
    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    This is because it is not used except in formal or old-fashioned contexts.
    No. It's because usedn't he doesn't exist in English. Nobody would dream of saying it under any circumstances.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Question tag He used only to play football...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    Also, since "used to" can be an ordinary verb or a semi-modal
    Used to is never an 'ordinary verb'.
    This is because it is not used except in formal or old-fashioned contexts.
    I doubt if it is ever used, even in formal contexts, these days.

  6. man of manners's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Question tag He used only to play football...

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    No. It's because usedn't he doesn't exist in English. Nobody would dream of saying it under any circumstances.
    I forgot to say that "usedn't" doesn't exist in American English. It is only used in Br.E.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Used to is never an 'ordinary verb'.
    Oh, that's actually correct. "Used to" is, originally, a modal verb but it is nowadays used just like an ordinary verb. That's why speakers never use "usedn't to".
    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I doubt if it is ever used, even in formal contexts, these days.
    I do agree, but it can be used, in a special occasion, to give an old-fashioned flavour to one's speech or written work.
    I am not a teacher, but you can trust my answers only if you feel convinced. If not, keep asking till you finally find what you want *The Truth*.

  7. Piscean's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Question tag He used only to play football...

    Quote Originally Posted by man of manners View Post
    I forgot to say that "usedn't" doesn't exist in American English. It is only used in Br.E.
    It is not used by 99% of speakers of BrE.

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