there didn't use to be

par

Member
Spain Spanish
Hello everyone
is it correct to use the expression there didn't use to be. I think that grammatically it is correct but I've seen There didn't used to be, is it possible??
Is there any other expressions more common in English?

thank you!!
 
  • audeman

    New Member
    UK English
    "there didn't use to be"

    No, that would not be correct.

    It would be "
    There didn't used to be"

    "There used to be..." means that there once was but there isn't any more.

    For example: "There used to be a shop on the corner selling sweets, now it sells computer games."

    Hope that helps!
    Marcus

     

    par

    Member
    Spain Spanish
    thank you!! It helps me a lot but I don't understand why the verb used is in the past tense if it is marked with the auxiliary verb did.
    For example, in the sentence I didn't like that film like is in the infinitive form because the auxiliary verb is in the past (did), so I don't know why used is still in the past tense.
    Thanks in advance
     

    Jeromed

    Banned
    USA, English
    thank you!! It helps me a lot but I don't understand why the verb used is in the past tense if it is marked with the auxiliary verb did.
    In the USA, it would be incorrect to write the verb in the past tense. Only the auxiliary is inflected.
     

    par

    Member
    Spain Spanish
    ok, I see...
    so in British English the expression there didn't use to be is the correct one, isn't it.

    Thank you
     

    Jeromed

    Banned
    USA, English
    ok, I see...
    so in British English the expression there didn't use to be is the correct one, isn't it.

    Thank you

    I have no idea. Audeman is stating the opposite, but let's see if other Britons confirm what he says.
    The BBC definitely agrees with the American usage: No D at the end of USE.
     

    paper

    Member
    Uk English
    I agree with Jeromed and the BBC. It's not an American/British thing, the use of "used" instead of "use" in that sentence is simply incorrect, although it's quite a common error made by native speakers, probably because in conversational English "use to" and "used to" sound almost indistinguishable.
     

    Jeromed

    Banned
    USA, English
    I agree with Jeromed and the BBC. It's not an American/British thing, the use of "used" instead of "use" in that sentence is simply incorrect, although it's quite a common error made by native speakers, probably because in conversational English "use to" and "used to" sound almost indistinguishable.

    :thumbsup:
     

    Alisterio

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I agree with paper, when the auxiliary verb ("didn't") is in the past tense, the main verb ("use to") stays in the infinitive. So,

    "There used to be a different currency in each of the countries of the EU."
    but
    "There didn't use to be a currency called the euro."

    After all, you would never say "I used to lived in Scotland", with both verbs in the past...
     

    Peigi Alba

    New Member
    English
    This came up a couple of days ago with a Spanish friend I was talking to. I had to check it, but the correct expression is 'there didn't use to be'. However, in British English this sounds clumsy and 'used to' in the negative is rarely chosen by native speakers. Much easier to say 'there wasn't'.
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Shouldn't this be There didn't used to be?

    No. See the above posts discussing this. In spoken form it is a moot point, since the D is virtually silent (it gets eaten by the T sound), but in writing there should be no D on "use."

    Personally, I try to avoid this construction in writing because it sounds a bit awkward to me. I would say, for example, "There used to be no shop here" or "This shop wasn't here before."
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Never heard of it, and unrelated to there didn't use to be.

    It is very much related, although it sounds horrible to my American ear.

    There didn't use to be = There used not to be (very formal, not common)

    Therefore, at least in terms of meaning, "there usedn't to be" has exactly the same meaning.
     

    Galván

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Definition of USEDN'T

    It looks chiefly British.

    Why unrelated?
    Because it's wrong.
    From the link you shared: "By the way, usen't there to be a cab-yard just about here?"
    Correct form: "By the way, didn't there use to be a cab-yard just about there?
    Perhaps what they wanted to convey was "isn't there use to be a cab-yard.
    I just think it adds more confusion to the original questions which is "didn't there use to be"
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    'Usedn't' is not wrong. It is very uncommon, even in BrE, but as gengo commented, it's 'used not', just as 'hadn't' is a contraction of 'had not'.
     

    Galván

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    'Usedn't' is not wrong. It is very uncommon, even in BrE, but as gengo commented, it's 'used not', just as 'hadn't' is a contraction of 'had not'.
    I understand the contraction usedn't (used not) however the sound of usedn't is very close to isn't and if someone were to say it, probably you wouldn't know the difference.
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    Sorry but 'usedn't' doesn't sound like 'isn't' at all. :confused:
    But as mentioned it's rather academic as usedn't is very rarely used.
     

    Galván

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    1) There used to be trees there, didn't there?
    2) Didn't there used to be trees there? (colloquial)

    English is my second language but I can see why both of these can be said interchangeably and wouldn't bother the ear of native speaker. The question is, is it correct in a formal setting? I personally would struggle deciding whether to write the past tense or the present tense. Based on what I ready from some of your responses, some of you believe it should written in present tense, some not. I would like to hear from other English speaking people to have a more broad understanding of this.
     
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    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    1) There used to be trees there, didn't there?
    2) Didn't there used to be trees there? (colloquial)

    The question is, is it correct in a formal setting?

    #2 is wrong in AmEn, although I wouldn't be surprised to see it written that way by an American native speaker. It's a fairly common mistake.

    From the Internet:
    The problem becomes a little trickier in constructions with did. The form considered correct following did, at least in American English, is use to. Just as we say "Did he want to?" instead of "Did he wanted to?," so we say "Did he use to?" instead of "Did he used to?" Here again, only in writing does the difference become an issue.

    While in American English "did used to" is considered an error, such usage appears to have won some measure of acceptance in British English.


    However, as I said above, for more formal situations it is best to use a different construction, such as "There used to be trees there, right?" or "If I'm not mistaken, there used to be trees there." That is, it is preferable to avoid using "use(d) to" with "did."
     

    Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    1) Raymond Murphy, English Grammar in Use (Cambridge University Press, 1985)

    UNIT 25 Used to (I used to do)

    c) The normal question form is did ... use to...?:
    - Did you use to eat a lot of sweets when you were a child?
    The negative form is didn't use to ... (or 'used not to')
    - Jack didn't use to go out very often until he met Jill.

    2) Michael Swan, Practical English Usage (OUP, 1980)

    used to + infinitive 614

    Used to can have the forms either of an auxiliary verb (questions and negatives without do) or of an ordinary verb (with do). The do-forms are more informal. (Note the special pronunciation of use and used in this structure: not /ju:z/, /ju:zd/, but /ju:s/, /ju:st/).
    Did you use to play cricket at school? (Or: Used you to play ...?)
    I didn't use to like opera, but now I'm getting interested. (Or: I used not to like ...)
    A contracted negative is possible: I usedn't to like ...

    3) R. Quirk, S. Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (Longman, 1973)

    The modal auxiliaries
    3.21

    The modal auxaliaries are the following:

    Non-negative/ Uncontracted negative/ Contracted negative
    (...)
    used to/ used not to/ usedn't to
     
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