Did I "USED" to?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by lordDank, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. lordDank Member

    I was checking a grammar book and it states that when we use used to in a question or negative sentence we can use Use to And Used to. example:

    Did you used to live in Paris?:tick:
    Did you use to live in Paris?:tick:

    What do you think about this? is it right?
  2. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    I used to: affirmative, simple past (ends in -ed)
    I didn't use to: negative
    Did I use to?: interrogative
  3. chamyto

    chamyto Senior Member

    Burgos, Spain
    No puedes decir "did you used to?" , puesto que did es la forma del pasado en interrogativa , es did you use to?
  4. lordDank Member

    ya también cría lo mismo, pero según el libro que les comenté, esta forma si es aceptada. podemos usar used to con -ed en forma negativa e interrogativa.
  5. levmac

    levmac Senior Member

    Es un error que cometen muchos nativos, ya que "Did you use to?" y "Did you used to?" [sic] suenan igual.

    Yo lo explico así: funciona como cualquier verbo regular en pasado

    I played - I used to
    I didn't play - I didn't use to
    Did you play - Did you use to?
  6. JennyTW Senior Member

    Córdoba, Spain
    English - UK
    There have been many threads on this point. Some argue that it isn't a normal past because there is no infinitive "to use to" with this pronunciation and meaning, but rather a semi modal - the form "I used not to do it " still exists in some dialects.

    Others say it"s just a mistake caused by the fact that the pronunciation of "....used to" and "...use to" is identical.

    You can take your pick. The debate still rages on.
  7. levmac

    levmac Senior Member

    I never heard that argument before. It doesn't seem too watertight to me, for the following reasons.

    1) No modals, as far as I know, use "did" to form the negative.

    2) The Oxford English Dictionary has the definition under "use", not "used":

    • 3 /juːst/ [in past, with infinitive] (used to) describing an action or situation that was done repeatedly or existed for a period in the past:this road used to be a dirt trackI used to give him lifts home

      So I suppose "use" would be the verb's "infinitive", if one was incomprehensibly keen to find the infinitive of a verbal structure used only with the past.

  8. abb1025

    abb1025 Senior Member

    English USA
    I'm not about to take a side on it, but the debate is summed up pretty well in the Oxford online:

    1 The construction used to is standard, but difficulties arise with the formation of negatives and questions. Traditionally, used to behaves as a modal verb, so that questions and negatives are formed without the auxiliary verb do, as in it used not to be like that and used she to come here? In modern English this question form is now regarded as very formal or old-fashioned and the use with do is broadly accepted as standard, as in did she use to come here? Negative constructions with do, on the other hand (as in it didn’t use to be like that), though common, are informal and are not generally accepted.2 There is sometimes confusion over whether to use the form used to or use to, which has arisen largely because the pronunciation is the same in both cases. Except in negatives and questions, the correct form is used to: we used to go to the cinema all the time, not we use to go to the cinema all the time. However, in negatives and questions using the auxiliary verb do, the correct form is use to, because the form of the verb required is the infinitive: I didn’t use to like mushrooms, not I didn’t used to like mushrooms.
  9. levmac

    levmac Senior Member

    Wow, where does that leave us? LOL Maybe we should just use "never" but I don't see how one is more informal than the other.
  10. Txiri

    Txiri Senior Member

    USA English
    A lot of people who are not very well versed in grammar or speaking of language in a metalinguistic way might think "didn't used to with the "d" is okay. It is not. The reason you see it at all is that people are ignorant, and I say this with no intention of being unkind or insulting.

    People don't notice this because those who have not studied phonetics aren't generally aware that words in a sentence aren't necessarily pronounced the way they are written. Phonetically, sounds change depending on the verbal context they occur in: voiced become unvoiced, and vice versa. "Elf" > "elves." (We may "distort" pronunciation more frequently in American English pronunciation, where we say "didentchú" for "didn't you" and the like. British pron. in general is more clipped and precise.) "Use" as noun, the sibilant consonant is unvoiced. "Use" as verb, the same sibilant consonant is voiced. vs. [z] sound. The points of articulation and the mode of articulation don't change. In the verbal construction "used to", the sibilant consonant is unvoiced, because it's followed by an unvoiced consonant, the t.

    Is it a modal? Kind of yes, kind of no. It doesn't act like the other modals, "must", "should", because the American variant, at least, uses the auxiliary "did" to form the negative and interrogatives, just like "normal" verbs. (I have never ever seen "Used she to blah blah ...) Those of us who work with other Romance languages know that "used to" is one of the structures that conveys the imperfect tense, which we don't really have. ("Would always ___" is another convention English uses to convey a Romance imperfect.)

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