Unit 38: USED TO

Used to can be a verb (Unit 3) or an adjective (Unit 64). The meanings of the verb and the adjective are not the same.

As a verb

It is a past simple formation (Unit 21). Put the base form of the verb after to:

used to go, didn't use to go or Did...use to go?

We use it to talk about habits or states in the past.

Montreal used to be very polluted, but it is cleaner now.
My uncle used to smoke eighty cigarettes a day. He died at forty-five.
I never used to like coffee, but now I drink a lot of it.
We didn't use to be able to book a room online.
Did you use to travel for business often?

NOTICE: We can also use would for past habit:

My former boss would often become angry if anyone disagreed with him.

As an adjective

Put get or be before used to.
After used to, use a noun phrase (Unit 45) or a verbal noun (Unit 48).
It means "familiar with". For example:

I am used to working hard. It is not new to me.
I am getting used to the shift change, but it was difficult for me at first.
Don't worry about the new job. You'll soon get used to it.
He was not used to working on his own, so when he started, it felt very strange.

NOTICE: See the difference in meaning:

He is used to getting up early.
He has got up early for a long time.
He used to get up early.
But now he gets up late.

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Exercise 38.1
Exercise 38.2
Exercise 38.3(MP3)