If you know how to use “Used to” in conversation (or even better, an IELTS speaking test) then your English will sound more natural.
How to Use “Used to”
In English, you use “Used to” to talk about a habit (something that happened over a period of time) in the past, but does not happen now.
A really good example of when we can use “Used to” clearly, is your childhood. In your childhood, you were different to how you are now, so this is a good place to make some examples about yourself that you can learn. This makes learning “used to” easier…
“When I was a child I didn’t use to speak much, but now I talk all the time”
“When I was at school I always used to do my homework on time” (If you now have a job or don’t go to school then you don’t have school homework).
Be Careful With Negatives And Questions ” Used To”
Be careful! If you use the negative or you ask a question, you need to use ‘use’ and not ‘used’:
- Did you use to play football at university?
- Did he use to work here?
- She didn’t use to like films, but now she loves to watch Harry Potter
- I didn’t use to want to learn English
Helpful Phrases To Use with “Used To”
A way to learn improve “Used to’ is to make some good example sentences for yourself. You will remember better if you also learn these two helpful phrases that go before and after ” Used to”:
- When I was___ I used to____
2. _____, but now I don’t.
Copy this example at home for yourself and add “used to” for your own life:
When I was ______ I used to _______
Now fill in the gaps with some examples for your own life. The good thing about the past in your own life is it doesn’t change, so you can rote learn some examples so you have them ready to use.
Here are some examples of my own:
When I was living in Beijing I used to eat dumplings every week.
When I was at university I used to study in the library a lot.
When I was younger I used to travel a lot.
Now add ” But now I ____” :
When I was living in Beijing I used to eat dumplings every week , but now I don’t.
When I was at university I used to study in the library a lot, but now I never go to the library.
When I was younger I used to travel a lot, but now I prefer to stay at home and watch movies or read books.
Some Mandarin Examples for “Used To”:
I used to go to the library – 我以前去图书馆/我以前去圖書館
I used to live in Beijing -我以前住在北京
When I was younger I used to travel a lot -我很小的时候经常去旅行/ 我很小的時候經常去旅行