Used to

The idiomatic phrase used to (not use to) has two unrelated uses: (1) as an adjective meaning accustomed, and (2) an auxiliary verb meaning, roughly, did and implying that an action was habitual in the past and does not continue in the present.


In the context of used to, used is synonymous with accustomed—for example:

The show’s amazing costumers, who are used to doing things on the fly, make the necessary adjustments to our outfits while we do a music check. [People]

But Japanese bosses are not used to judging people by their performance. [Economist]

Used to can also be an auxiliary verb—similar to did—indicating that a state, habit, or action took place in the past and does not continue—for example:

Hall of Famer Billy Williams said they used to have a TV in the clubhouse when he played, but it was a little smaller. []

Bridgwater Carnival used to be staged on the Thursday closest to 5 November but moved to a Friday in 2001. [BBC News]

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