Talk About Life Changes with “Used to”

Reading Books

I didn’t use to like reading books about business. I used to not enjoy any non-fiction books. I mostly used to read mystery books, and nothing more. I used to live in a small world, didn’t I? Now, I read books about teaching English and about business. And I still read mystery books. What did you use to read? Do you read? different things now?

Explain Life Changes with Past Tense

We all have changes in our lives. We have certain habits when we are young, like staying up really late at night, and those habits sometimes change. When we are older, we sometimes want or need to talk about how our habits, thoughts, and feelings are different now. In English we do this with past simple tense and “used to.” This post will tell you how.

The Structure

If you want to use “used to,” here are the sentence structures.

Positive: subject + used to + base verb + object

Negative 1: subject + didn’t + use to + base verb + object

Negative 2: subject + used to + not + base verb + object

Question 1: did/didn’t + subject + use to + base verb + object

Question 2: question word + did/didn’t + subject + use to + base verb + object

Tag Question 1: subject + used to + base verb + object + didn’t + subject repeated

Tag Question 2: subject + didn’t + use to + base verb + object + did + subject repeated

Usage

These structures are useful if you want to talk about something that was true before, (in the past), and is not true now, (in the present). Or you can use them if you want to talk about something that was true before and is still true now. In my story above, I told you about something that was true about me.

I mostly used to read mystery books, and nothing more.

I didn’t use to like reading books about business.

I used to not enjoy non-fiction books.

You can see that it is possible to use negative and positive sentences to do this. And I used a tag question to confirm that you were thinking that my world was very small then.

I used to live in a small world, didn’t I?

Final Note

Very often, when we write or say sentences with “used to” for talking about the past, we use the present tense afterword for explaining what is different now.

Now, I read books about teaching English and about business.

And I still read mystery books.

Your Turn

You know what I am going to write. It is time for practice. In my story, I asked, “what did you used to read?” Tell me in a comment. Or you can leave a comment to tell me another habit you used to have. Did you use to be very athletic, write poetry, etc?