did psychologists used to

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keannu

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1.Is the interrogative form of "used to do something" "did S+used to" like this? I think probably it's right, but I need your confirmation.
2. In A1, can "them" refer to "characteristics" as a plural form? Or does it have to be a singular form like "it"?
3. In A2, can you omit "them" or "characteristics"?

Q. What did psychologists used to blame on teens' moody characteristics?
A1. They used to blame them on hormones.
A2. They used to blame on hormones.
 
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Raymott

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1.Is the interrogative form of "used to do something" "did S+used to" like this? I think probably it's right, but I need your confirmation.
2. In A1, can "them" refer to "characteristics" as a plural form? Or does it have to be a singular form like "it"?
3. In A2, can you omit "them" or "characteristics"?

Q. What did psychologists used to blame on teens' moody characteristics?
A1. They used to blame them on hormones.
A2. They used to blame on hormones.
Yes, it's OK to use it this way. A1 is correct. You can't leave out 'them'.
But the question is wrong.
Psychologists used to blame teen's moody characteristics on hormones.
They did not blame hormones on teen's moody characteristics.
The question should therefore be: Q. What did psychologists use to blame teens' moody characteristics on? (Blaming A on B, and blaming B on A are two different things.)
 
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probus

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In my opinion "did somebody used to" is intelligible but inferior. "Did somebody formerly" is better.
 

keannu

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Then, what alternative can you recommend?
 

probus

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I just did. "Did psychologists used to" = "Psychologists formerly." If I was unclear, I apologize.
 

Raymott

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I just did. "Did psychologists used to" = "Psychologists formerly." If I was unclear, I apologize.
It was very clear. I can't imagine how keannu missed it.
Maybe formally. But in conversation, in AusE, "Didn't you use to go to that school?" is correct and almost nobody would say, "Didn't you formerly go to that school?" or "Weren't you in the custom of ..." or "Didn't you habitually ..." or anything else I can think of.
 
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5jj

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"Did A used to ...?" is illogical. If we are using USE as we would most other verbs, then the form should be "Did A use to ...?", and that is the form that is still considered correct in BrE. However, as both forms are pronounced in the same way, the used form is quite commonly seen. Some people appear to be unsure, and avoid the form altogether.

Part of the problem for older people is that we were taught at school that the only correct form was "Used A to ...?", which sounds strange to most people today.
 

Raymott

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"Did A used to ...?" is illogical. If we are using USE as we would most other verbs, then the form should be "Did A use to ...?", and that is the form that is still considered correct in BrE. However, as both forms are pronounced in the same way, the used form is quite commonly seen. Some people appear to be unsure, and avoid the form altogether.

Part of the problem for older people is that we were taught at school that the only correct form was "Used A to ...?", which sounds strange to most people today.
Yes, you're correct. The correct sentence is:
Q. What did psychologists use to blame teens' moody characteristics on?
 

5jj

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Note the difference between:

1. What did he use (/ju:z/) to (/tə/) cut the cloth? - Which implement did he employ in order to cut the cloth.

and

2. What did he use to (/ju:stə/) cut the cloth with? - With which implement did he formerly cut the cloth?
3. What did he used to (/ju:stə/) cut the cloth with? - With which implement did he formerly cut the cloth?

The technically incorrect form in #3 is pronounced in exactly the same way as the correct form in#2.
 
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