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    #1

    there was/ there used to be

    Hello everybody! I hope you won't blame me if I ask you for some further help;
    Which is the difference, if any, between "there was" and "there used to be" in the following sentence?

    As THERE WAS/ THERE USED TO BE a small second-hand bookshop near to her house, Pamela decided to go there to get her a book.

    It is a multiple-choice exercise; I think both options are acceptable; "there used to be" seems to underline that the bookshop is not open any longer at present: do you agree? What would you put in? Thank you so much!

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    #2

    Re: there was/ there used to be

    There used to be means the bookshop was there but isn't there anymore. If Pamela decided to go there, she'd find that it no longer existed.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: there was/ there used to be

    there was is the simpler, clearer, better answer.

    Using used to be could possibly suggest that the bookshop had disappeared by the time Pamela went there. There is no reason to use it.

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    Interested in Language
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    #4

    Re: there was/ there used to be

    In this context "THERE WAS" is correct and "THERE USED TO BE" is incorrect.

    "As THERE WAS a small second-hand bookshop near to her house, Pamela decided to go there to get her a book."

    This sentence makes sense. It means that Pamela decided to go to the bookshop to get a book because the bookshop was near her house. The narrator is saying that in the past, when Pamela decided to get the book, that the bookshop was near her house. That is, from Pamela's perspective, the bookshop was near Pamela's house at the time, so she went there to get a book.


    "As THERE USED TO BE a small second-hand bookshop near to her house, Pamela decided to go there to get her a book."

    This sentence does not make sense. It means that Pamela decided to go to the bookshop to get a book because there used to be a bookshop near her house. The narrator would be saying that when Pamela decided to get the book, the bookshop no longer existed near her house. That is, from Pamela's perspective, the bookshop used to be near her house, so she wouldn't be able to go there, because it doesn't exist there anymore.


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