The used to tense is used to talk about past habits and routines. We use the used to tense to express that there has been a change between the past and the present.


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When we talk about past habits and routines, we say what we used to do and what we didn’t use to do.


Structure of the used to tense:

+ Affirmative

I used to play rugby.

This means that in the past I played the sport rugby, but now I do not.

– Negative

I didn’t use to speak Spanish.

This means that I didn’t speak Spanish, but now I do not.

? Interrogative

Did you use to watch a lot of television?

This is a question asking if the person watched TV frequently in the past.


We need to remember a few things about this tense:

In the past tenses, we do not conjugate the verbs when the subject changes. Study the examples:

I used to play video games every day.

You used to sing in a music group.

He used to listen to music every day.

She used to play the piano as a child.

We used to eat a lot of junk-food.

They used to drink lots of fizzy drinks.


In the negative and interrogative, we get rid of the D at the end of USED. Study the examples:

I didn’t use to play football often.

We didn’t use to spend time with our cousins in the past.


Did you use to sing in the choir at school?

Did they use to visit you in summer?


We often used the used to tense with these phrases:

… as a child.

… when I was younger.

… when I was a teenager.

… when I was little.

… when I was 10 years old.

… at school.

… in the past.

… ages ago.

… 10 years ago.

… when I was growing up.


Questions using USED to:

  1. Did you use to enjoy going to school?
  2. Did you use to study English at school?
  3. Did you use to do a lot of sport as a child?
  4. Did you use to share your feelings with your parents as a teenager?
  5. Did you use to play a musical instrument when you were younger?


Download exercises using used to HERE

Fill in the gaps and discuss these questions with a partner: 


  1. Were you used to __________ a lot of time with friends when you were younger? (SPEND)
  2. Were you used to __________ lots of sports in the past? (DO)
  3. Did you use to __________ video games as a child? (PLAY)
  4. Were you used to __________ to the gym often as a teenager? (GO)
  5. Did you use to __________ shopping at weekends 5 years ago? (GO)
  6. Did you use to __________ around the house a lot as a teenager? (LAZE)
  7. Were you used to __________ English frequently as a child? (SPEAK)
  8. Were you used to __________ on the phone for a long time as a teenager? (TALK)
  9. Did you use to __________ friends at night in the past? (MEET)
  10. Were you used to __________ in bed until midday as a teenager? (STAY)
  11. Were you used to __________ films at the cinema often in the past? (WATCH)
  12. Did you use to __________ out in restaurants often when you were younger? (EAT)
  13. Were you used to __________ a lot of junk-food as a teenager? (EAT)
  14. Did you use to __________ sports events as a child? (ATTEND)
  15. Were you used to __________ the internet often in the past? (SURF)




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