didn't use to / wouldn't


Senior Member
Spanish Spain
Hi, I have read a similar thread but it doesn't make clear if in a negative sentence both "didn't use to" and "wouldn't" can be used. For example in this sentence "He didn't use to read books when he was younger, but he does now", is it possible to use "wouldn't read"? Thanks.
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England

    “Used to” or “didn’t used to” suggest a habit.
    If you choose “wouldn’t” it brings in more an element of resistance, maybe he was defying everyone who ever tried to encourage him to read.

    Obviously there is some overlap but they are not synonymous.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    No, it isn't possible. The meaning changes when you make the sentence negative. It would be read as "refused to" or "didn't want to".

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