Used to

skyway

Member
Arabic-Iraq
Hello everyone!
" I used to smoke but I quit last year."
" There used to be a building here but they knocked it down two years ago."
"I used to have a bike but someone stole it last month."
In the examples above, is it OK to use "yesterday" instead of " last year, two years ago or last month"?
For example, is it correct to say: "There used to be a building here but they knocked it down yesterday"?
Thanks in advance
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's grammatically okay but "used to" has an air of permanence to it. It's something that is definitely and clearly no longer true. So using it for very, very recent things can sometimes sound "off".

    "There used to be a building here but they knocked it down yesterday."

    This is very permanent. That building will never return.

    "I used to have a bike but someone stole it yesterday."

    This is a little too soon to use "used to" in my opinion. The consequences are so new that using "used to" seems out of place. You would much more likely say, "I had a bike until yesterday when someone stole it." It's not yet part of your past habits.

    "I used to smoke but I quit yesterday."

    Quitting smoking is notoriously difficult. Many people "quit" many times before it becomes permanent. After only one day you don't really know if you have quit. Again, I don't think the habit is far enough in the past to show permanence and lack of relation to the present and therefore use "used to". It would be more likely just to say it. "I quit smoking yesterday."
     
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