used to


Alternative formsEdit


  • IPA(key): /juːs(t).tu/, /juːs(t).tə/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːstu, -uːstə
  • Homophone: use to
  • Not homophonous with used in the sense of "made use of" (as in "the key was used to open the door"), whose pronunciation is IPA(key): /juːzd/.

Etymology 1Edit

From used, past participle of use ((archaic sense) to be in the habit of)[1] + to.


used to (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic, with noun phrase) Accustomed to, tolerant or accepting of.
    I am used to cleaning up other people’s mess.  I became used to his ways.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 5, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      “Well,” I says, “I cal'late a body could get used to Tophet if he stayed there long enough.” ¶ She flared up; the least mite of a slam at Doctor Wool was enough to set her going.
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      He was shivering a little, for he had always been used to sleeping in a proper bed, and by this time his coat had worn so thin and threadbare from hugging that it was no longer any protection to him.

Etymology 2Edit

From used, past of use ((archaic sense) to be in the habit of)[1] + to (infinitive marker).


used to

  1. (temporal location) Formerly and habitually or repeatedly, but possibly no longer, did.
    I used to be undecided, but now I’m sure.  I used to like that band long ago, and I was surprised I still do.I used to know a guy from the UK who pronounced "mother" with the "r".It used to be me who ran the company.There used to be open fields here. Now it's a shopping mall.
Usage notesEdit
  • With did as an auxiliary verb (as in the negative and interrogative), use to is considered standard, especially in American English (e.g., Did you use to walk to school?; He didn't use to behave that way!; It's hard to drive without power steering; did people just use to be stronger?).[1] In other situations, such as I use to go to the fair every year, it is considered an error to not write the past tense form used to, which is caused by the two forms sounding nearly or exactly the same.[1]
  • The negative may be formed as used to not or used not to (usen't to, usedn't to), did not use to (didn't use to), or did not used to, the last of which is sometimes considered an error.[1][2]
  • The interrogative is constructed like did [subject] use to...? (did [subject] used to is also found, but is considered an error)[2] or used [subject] to...?, varying by region and era.
  • When it is not necessary to include the following verb, it is usual in some regions to use the verb do as a stand-in (he works harder than he used to do), whereas in others it is usual to use no verb at all (he works harder than he used to).
Derived termsEdit
  A user suggests that this English entry be cleaned up, giving the reason: “Are these habitual/recurring? Please don't confuse due to different epistemics of first and other persons”.
Please see the discussion on Requests for cleanup(+) or the talk page for more information and remove this template after the problem has been dealt with.


  • used to at OneLook Dictionary Search.
  • used to” in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Merriam-Webster: Is It 'Used To' or 'Use To'?
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stewart Clark, Graham Pointon, The Routledge Student Guide to English Usage: A guide to academic writing for students (2016, Routledge, →ISBN), page 296: "In questions, use Did he use to go to Cardiff? rather than Did he used to go to Cardiff? This second version is clearly non-standard. The same applies to negatives: He did not use to play football is recommended usage, but He did not used to play football is non-standard. Note that the alternative He used not to play football on Sundays is correct usage, but too formal for most contexts."