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Is It Use To Or Used To

Published by at February 9th, 2024 , Revised On February 28, 2024

Navigating the English language can be a delightful dance, but it also throws in some tricky two-steppers like “use to” and “used to.” These seemingly simple phrases can trip up even the most seasoned wordsmiths, leaving them wondering: “Which one is it? And why?!” Fear not, fellow traveller! This blog is your pocket guide to mastering these confusing words.

Understanding “Used To”

“Used to” is a phrase that indicates a past habitual action or a state of affairs that was true in the past but is no longer the case. It is commonly employed when discussing past routines, activities, or states that were once regular but have since changed. The correct form is “used to” rather than “use to.” Let us look at a few examples to illustrate:

Example 1: I used to play the piano every day when I was a child.

This sentence implies that playing the piano was a regular habit in the past, but it is not the case any more.

Example 2: She used to live in the capital city of London, but now she resides in Birmingham.

Here, the speaker is highlighting a change in the person’s place of residence from London to Birmingham.

Example 3: They used to be close friends, but they drifted apart over the years.

In this example, the phrase emphasises the former closeness of the friendship that no longer exists.

Understanding “Use To”

On the other hand, “use to” is incorrect when referring to past habits or states. “Use to” is used when discussing the application or utilisation of something in the present. It is important to note that “use to” is not interchangeable with “used to” in the context of past habits. 

Let’s explore some examples to clarify:

Example 1: I use this app to track my daily expenses.

In this case, “use to” indicates the current and ongoing utilisation of the app for tracking expenses.

Example 2: She uses a unique technique to solve complex math problems.

Here, “use to” expresses the current application of a specific technique for solving math problems.

Example 3: We use the latest technology to enhance our productivity at work.

This example highlights the present use of advanced technology to improve productivity.

Pro Tip: Remember, “use to” is always followed by the base verb, whereas “used to” takes the past tense of the verb. So, “I use to run” is correct, but “I used to runned” is a grammar faux pas.

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Common Mistakes And How to Avoid Them

Given the similarity in pronunciation between “used to” and “use to,” it’s common for learners to misuse these phrases. To avoid confusion, remember the following:

“Used to” For Past Habits

    • Incorrect: I use to go jogging every morning.
    • Correct: I used to go jogging every morning.

“Use to” For Present Application

    • Incorrect: I used to this agency for my dissertations. (unless referring to a past action).
    • Correct: I use this agency for my dissertations.

No Past Tense For “Use To”

    • Incorrect: I used his cookbook to try out new recipes (unless referring to a past action).
    • Correct: I use this cookbook to try out new recipes.


  • “Use to” = present action linked to past habit
  • “Used to” = past action or state
  • “Get used to” = process of becoming familiar with something new

Frequently Asked Questions

“Used to” is correct when referring to past habits or states, indicating actions or situations that were regular but no longer are. “Use to” is incorrect in this context. For present application or utilisation, “use to” is appropriate. Mastering this distinction is crucial for accurate communication in English.

Yes, “use to use” is correct when expressing a past habitual action or repeated behavior. For example, “I use to use public transportation every day before I got a car.” In this context, “use to use” conveys a habitual action in the past that is no longer true.

Use “used to” to describe past habitual actions or states that were regular but no longer are. For instance, “I used to visit the library every weekend.” It emphasises a change from the past. Avoid using “used to” for present actions; for those, use “use to” without “d.”

“Use to” refers to past habits or actions, like “I used to play piano.” “Get used to” relates to adapting or becoming accustomed to something, as in “I’m getting used to my new job.” The former is about past habits, while the latter involves the process of becoming familiar with something new.

“Use to” is not a phrasal verb. “Used to” is a modal phrase that expresses past habitual actions or states. For example, “I used to play the guitar.” The correct usage is “used to,” and it differs from phrasal verbs, which involve a verb and a preposition or adverb.

An alternative phrase for “used to” is “accustomed to.” Both convey the idea of being familiar with or having a habit of something in the past. For instance, “I was accustomed to taking long walks in the park” is equivalent to “I used to take long walks in the park.”

About Alvin Nicolas

Avatar for Alvin NicolasNicolas has a master's degree in literature and a PhD degree in statistics. He is a content manager at ResearchProspect. He loves to write, cook and run. Nicolas is passionate about helping students at all levels.