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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 90
    #1

    Didn't use to/wouldn't

    Hi, Iīd greatly appreciate it if anybody could explain to me why
    "Only poor women who couldn't afford servants didn't use to have to wear corsets" is considered incorrect, while the version with would "Only poor women who couldn't afford servants wouldn't have to wear corsets" is not, as I have to explain the difference to a first certificate class, and I really canīt see it.
    Thanks

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    #2

    Re: Didn't use to/wouldn't

    Quote Originally Posted by micaelo View Post
    Hi, Iīd greatly appreciate it if anybody could explain to me why
    "Only poor women who couldn't afford servants didn't use to have to wear corsets" is considered incorrect, while the version with would "Only poor women who couldn't afford servants wouldn't have to wear corsets" is not, as I have to explain the difference to a first certificate class, and I really canīt see it.
    Thanks
    I'm surprised (but relieved) to hear that you've been told the first is incorrect. During my CELTA, I had to teach from an Inside Out book that gave the negative of "used to" as "didn't use to" - which struck me as quaint and archaic. Jane Austen probably used the expression (though probably with a /z/ sound), just as she would have used 'use' to refer to a habitual action: in that interpretation


    I use to go to the village every Monday

    meant

    I usually go to the village every Monday

    Note: this is not current usage.

    Informally, it's quite common to say 'didn't use to' (with the /s/ sound). But, for me, the negative is "used not to".

    I'd think your second version a bit dubious as well, but maybe that's just a personal preference - my ear is a bit disorientated by all those negatives.

    b


    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 90
    #3

    Re: Didn't use to/wouldn't

    Yeah, I know it sounds funny, but the reason it's considered incorrect is not because " did not use to" is normally so, as this is quoted as the correct negative elsewhere. I think it has something to do with the relation to "have to", but I could be wrong.
    In the full version of the exercise there are three possible forms to complete the sentence and the student has to cross out the incorrect one:

    "Only poor women who couldn't afford servant's didn't use to have to/wouldn't have to/didn't have to wear corsets."
    I have the answer key at the back and the incorrect option seems to be the first one.

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