Unlike the Past Simple tense, “Used to” is one of those grammar points that does not appear in every single English textbook. Used to + verb (infinitive) refers to a habit or state in the past. In other words, it means something that happened but does not happen anymore. It is used only in the past tense.
When do you use use to without the d at the end? This can be a bit confusing for both native and non-native English speakers because the d and t sounds between the words go together. It is actually very simple! Drop the d when there is “did” or “didn’t” in the sentence.
I have created and shared a video that introduces the usage of used to.
In the warm up stage, I tell my students a short story about Children in Victorian Times. This activity always catches my students’ attentions as they are curious about life in Western countries. I use both used to and the past simple tense in the story to express a state that existed in the past but does not exist now. Note: It is very important to use a different color for all the words and phrases that talk about the past.
After the short story, I would ask a few comprehensive questions. I normally start by asking: What is the story about? It is about now, the future, or the past? This step reinforces the “tense” of the story.
Once I am sure that the students understood the story, I would go on and introduce when/how we can use used to using sentences from the story. At this point, my only focus is on the positive form.
In the practice stage, students create their own sentences using used to about Children in the Joseon Era or Children in the Meiji Era. I ask each group to share their sentences with the class.
Next, I show the students how we can use the negative form: didn’t use to.
After that, there is “discussion.” The questions allow the students to use the target language. I encourage my students to give many details, and their partners need to ask follow up questions.
I normally like to do a target language review activity at the end of the class. Who would hate the idea of listening to a pop song while practicing the language? ;-) Here is the worksheet that I created with a song by Daughtry – “Used To.”