How do you use used to?
Remember as kids once we used to enjoy summer break each year? Unfortunately, even as we get older, we don’t have this mandated chunk of time off from work every year.
But did we use to count down the times until school was out? Or did we used to enjoy the last day of school each year?
Despite the minor difference—only one letter—used to and use to are different. But given how similar they’re, it’s understandable why your decision to incorporate that D can be so confusing.
The phrase “used to” is a strange one. This unusual construction is a past habitual marker. As linguist John H. McWhorter points out in the Lexicon Valley podcast, “used to” is tricky because it isn’t about utilizing something. Instead, it’s about something you did habitually in the past.
This phrase is used to describes something you’re familiar with or accustomed to. So if there’s a thing that always happened or is becoming customary, it could be used to. For instance: I’m used to sleeping with the lights because I usually get to sleep while reading. Or, She’s used to my cooking and rarely complains anymore.
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Then, there’s the version of good use as a verb that describes a habitual action—that’s, activities frequently done as a habit. For instance: she used to go to the library every single day after school. Or I used to consume an apple en route to school every morning.
This use is exclusively used previously tense to state this action that no more happens. So if you’re trying to claim that the service was always excellent at the restaurant, you’d depend on used to and not use to. But we’ll enter that much more below.
One of many challenges of good use, as we’ve already seen, is that it’s such a valuable and highly used verb. As a noun and verb, use is recorded in early Middle English and ultimately derives via French from the Latin? sus (“act of employing a thing”) and ?t? (“to use”). Use today is commonly utilized in the sense of utility, which shares its Latin roots with use.
Historically, use had several senses which have fallen out of, well, use or familiarity today. One of them is “to apply habitually or customarily; make a practice of,” an expression which survives in the tricky construction used to
How do you use to use to?
It could help to consider that in almost all of that period, the appropriate option is employed to and not use to. However, there’s one exception to the rule: if the auxiliary forms did/didn’t is in the sentence, you’d choose use to and not used to.
Didn’t she use to play the flute?
Did the doctor’s office use to be there?
Although it might sound right, it isn’t. Why do we say it? Where some individuals fall into trouble is that use to may appear correct to the ear.
This may be as the sounds of D followed by T tend to blend, and we process it together unit “use to” or “use.” So people have gotten used to hearing used to (see what we did there). So even though Their dad uses to cook dinner nightly sounds right. In formal, standard writing, this example should read Their dad used to cook dinner.
Expressions have made use to seem more familiar. Although used to is a building for something accustomed or habituated to, “of no use to” is, too. For instance: it’s of no use to supply help when she doesn’t want it. Here, users will be used as a noun followed by an infinitive verb.
We all know with enough practice, though, you’ll get accustomed to using used to correctly.