The last semi-modal on our list is “used to”, which you will probably be very familiar with. You have probably used “used to” to talk about habits:
As a child I used to play near the stream every day.This was an action that happened many times in the past but no longer.
You can also use “used to” to talk about a state that was true in the past but has changed:
I never used to be so stressed before I started working at this job.
Like other modal and semi-modal verbs, “used to” only has one form, not changing to accommodate the person or people used with it. Note the -d is always there in the positive sense. It is never “use to”.
I used to live in Spain.
There are two negative forms for “used to”: “did not use to” and “used not to”. You can also contract them into “didn’t use to” and “usedn’t to”, respectively, although the last form is rare:
I used not to be able to bench press 100 kg.You can also negate the “be able to” part instead: I used to not be able to bench press 100 kg.
I used not to like children but every since I’ve had my own, they are growing on me.You can also negate the “like” part instead: I used to not like children…
Want to learn more about modal verbs? Here is a guide to all the semi-modal verbs here: introduction to semi-modal verbs. You can also learn more about other English language information on my Learning English page.
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