used to; would; be/get used to

Used to (affirmative form)

  • We use used to + infinitive to talk about past habits which are now finished.
Robert used to play football when he was younger, but he stopped playing 20 years ago.                                            

Robert played football regularly in the past, but he does not play now.

         More examples:

Kate used to go to the cinema a lot, but she doesn't now.

When I was a child I used to suck my thumb.


  • We also use used to for past states and situations which are no longer true.

e.g. Robert used to be a very slim when he was younger.

I used to live in London, but I moved in 1980.


Used to (negative form)

  • the negative of used to is normally didn't use to (=did not use to)
e.g. I didn't use to live in London.

You didn't use to like classical music.


Used to (question form)

  • We normally form questions with did...use to...?
e.g. Where did you use to live?

Did you use to like classical music?

Now you can click here to do the exercise.



  • We use would with the same meaning to talk about the past.

e.g. When I was a child my father would sometimes take me fishing.

My grandmother was very absent-minded. She would often buy something and then leave the shop without it.


Used to and Would

  • When we talk about past habits, we can use used to or would

e.g. When we were children, we used to/would play Cowboys and Indians together.

  • When we talk about past states, we can use used to, but NOT would. Would is used only for regularly repeated actions. Used to is used to express a situation existed in the past.

e.g. My grandfather used to be a policeman. (NOT: My grandfather would be)

My husband used to have a moustache, but he shaved it off. (NOT: My husband would have)

I used to live in California. I used to have a Volkswagen. (Would cannot be used in these sentences.)

Now you can click here to do the exercise.

Used to vs be/get used to

  • We use used to + infinitive to express a habit, activity, or situation that existed in the past but which no longer exists.
  • We use be used to +  Ving to mean 'be accustomed to'.
  • In the expression get used to, get means 'become'.
e.g. I used to drive a Mercedes, but now I drive Citroen.

I am used to driving my new car, but I found it very strange at first.

Mary moved to St. Petersburg last winter. Now she is used to living in cold weather. 

Though it has been two weeks, I haven't got used to wearing glasses yet.

Now you can click here to do the exercise.