Use to vs. Used to

Roxana Maria

Ever got confused between “use to” and “used to”? It happens! These phrases might sound alike, but they play different roles in English. Let’s break it down in simpler terms to grasp the ins and outs of using “use to or used to.”

How to Use “Use to” and “Used to”?

“Use to” Usage

“Use to” is a bit casual and often pops up in everyday conversations. When you want to talk about something you did regularly in the past, “use to” is your go-to guy.

Past Habit or ActionI use to binge-watch shows every weekend.

“Used to” Usage

Now, “used to” is the grown-up, formal version of “use to.” It’s the correct choice when you want to talk about past habits in a more polished way. Think of it as the sophisticated elder sibling.

Past Habit or ActionI used to collect stamps when I was younger.

What are the Key Differences?

Verb Tense:

  • “Use to” is for present habits; “used to” is the past tense.
  • “Use to” stays present; “used to” goes back in time.

Formal vs. Informal:

  • “Used to” is the formal one; “use to” is laid-back.
  • “Used to” suits formal chats; “use to” is perfect for casual talks.

Negatives and Questions:

  • Only “used to” for negatives and questions.
  • Examples:
    • Negative: She didn’t used to eat sushi.
    • Question: Did you used to play the guitar?


  • “Didn’t” buddies up with “used to” in negatives; “use to” doesn’t do contractions.
  • Examples:
    • “Didn’t” with “used to”: I didn’t used to like spicy food.
    • “Use to” without contraction: We use to go fishing on Sundays.

Examples for Clarity:

Incorrect: I use to swim every day.

  • Correct: I used to swim every day.

Incorrect: Did she use to live here?

  • Correct: Did she used to live here?

Incorrect: We use to travel a lot.

  • Correct: We used to travel a lot.

What is the key difference between “use to” and “used to”?

“Use to” is for present habits, while “used to” is the past tense. “Use to” is informal, like a chat with a buddy, while “used to” is the formal, grown-up version. Only “used to” handles negatives and questions, and contractions pair up with it.

Usage of Use to and Used to in Sentences:

Lets find out how “use to” and “used to” work in sentences:

Use to (Present Habit):

  • I used to be all about coffee every morning, but these days, I’m team tea.
  • Back in the day, they used to hit up yoga classes for their fitness fix.

Used to (Past Habit):

  • I used to strum the guitar in high school – good times!
  • Before the Big Apple, she used to call Paris home sweet home.

Use to (Oops, Incorrect Past Usage):

  • Oops, my bad: We used to camp every summer, not use to.
  • Correcting the record: It wasn’t “use to,” it was “used to” for our summer escapades.

Used to (Negatives):

  • I didn’t use to vibe with spicy food, but now I can’t get enough.
  • Horror movies? Nah, she didn’t use to watch them, but now she’s hooked.

Use to (Questions):

  • Remember when you used to kick it on the soccer field as a kid?
  • Any chance they use to hit up their grandparents during holidays?

Used to (Contractions):

  • I didn’t use to dig broccoli, but now it’s my jam.
  • He used to clock in at the bookstore, didn’t he?

Use to (Chill Conversations):

  • Sundays were for lakeside picnics – we use to make it a ritual.
  • College breaks were for random road trips – they use to live it up.

Used to (Proper Formal Vibes):

  • Grandpa used to spin epic tales from his youth – a legend.
  • The old crib used to host epic community meet-ups – history in the bricks.

Use to (Oops, Incorrect Present Usage):

  • My bad again: “She use to read every night” – not quite right.
  • Let’s fix it: “She uses to read a book every night” – got it!

Used to (Nostalgia Trip):

  • Childhood dreams? Oh, I used to dream of being an astronaut.
  • Festivals used to turn the town square into a buzz of excitement.


In conclusion “Use to” and “used to” might sound alike, but they have their own roles to play. Keep it simple, use “use to” for present habits, and give a nod to “used to” for your past routines. Practice, and soon you’ll be smoothly slipping them into your conversations without a second thought!