Is It Use To or Used To? | Difference & Examples

Commonly Confused Words updated on  January 10, 2024 4 min read
“Use to” and “used to” are related phrases that share a meaning. However, they are not used in the same way.

  • Use to is a verb that indicates a past action, state, or habit. It is always preceded by “did,” “didn’t,” or “did not.”
  • Used to is also a verb that indicates a past action, state, or habit, but it is not used with “did,” “didn’t,” or “did not.” It is also used as an adjective to mean “accustomed to.”
These phrases are often confused because the final “d” in “used” and the “t” in “to” seem to blend together in pronunciation, causing them to sound like homonyms. However, it's important to use them correctly, especially in academic writing or professional communication.

Examples: Used to in a sentence

Examples: Use to in a sentence

Terrance has three dogs, so he’s used to training them.

Didn’t you use to play the piano?

I used to babysit during college.

She didn’t use to eat vegetables, but now she loves them.

Roman used to cycle to work before he got a car.

Did they use to live in that old farmhouse?

Use to as a verb

Use to is a variant of used to that is only used in negative statements, in questions, and to indicate emphasis. Because of this, it’s only used in combination with:

  • “Did”
  • “Did not”
  • “Didn’t” (contraction)
The “d” is omitted because the verb “did” already indicates that the sentence is in the past tense. Other verbs behave the same way (e.g., “he didn’t talk,” not “he didn’t talked”).


Examples: Use to in a sentence
Didn’t you use to avoid lactose?
Soumaya didn’t use to eat fruit, but now she eats an apple and pear every day.
I did not use to like cats, but they’ve grown on me.


I use to or I used to

I used to is a phrase used to refer to a past habit. “I use to” is never correct.

Examples: I used to in a sentence
I used to smoke cigarettes as a teenager, but I quit forty years ago.
I used to be a teacher, but I now paint for a living.
I used to like Lara, but she has changed.

Used to as a verb

“Used to” is often used as a verb to refer to a past habit, state, or action that’s no longer happening. It modifies the main verb of a clause, which means it acts similarly to a modal verb.

To use this form correctly, combine “used” with the preposition “to” and the infinitive form of a verb (e.g., “talk,” “love,” “write”).

Examples: Used to in a sentence (verb)
Deidre used to visit her grandson every week.
I saw a friend whom I used to date in high school.
You used to read a lot.

Used to as an adjective

Used to can also be used as an adjective. In this context, it’s used along with a form of the helping verb “be” (e.g., “you are,” he is”).

Examples: Used to as an adjective
Luca is used to traveling because he is a truck driver.
I am not used to eating spicy food.
Is your dog used to being alone?

Get used to it

Get(ting) used to it means “becoming accustomed to it.” “It” replaces a previously specified noun. “Get use to it” is always incorrect.

Examples: Get(ting) used to it
My cat really struggled with being alone, but he’s getting used to it now.
There’s always more work to do. Get used to it!
I heard you’re no longer experiencing side effects. Did you get used to it?

Quiz: Use to or used to

Test your knowledge of the difference between “used to” and “use to” by filling in “used to” or “use to” in each sentence.

Do you want to know more about commas, parts of speech, email, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.


US vs UK

Parts of speech

Rhetoric

Gray vs grey

Action verbs

Metaphor

Judgment or judgement

Stative verbs

Simile

Favour or favor

Transitive verbs

Alliteration

Fulfil or fulfill

Verbs

Assonance

Labor or labour

Nouns

Malapropism


Frequently asked questions about use to or used to

Is it use to do or used to do?

Use to and used to are frequently confused. In this case, “used to do” is correct because you’re describing a past habit or action.

  • I used to do my friend’s hair before going out.
  • They used to do a lot of fun activities in the summer.
  • Rick used to do some odd jobs on the side, but now he has a full-time job.

The QuillBot Grammar Checker will fix this and other mistakes automatically.

Is it use to have or used to have?

Use to and used to are frequently confused. In this case, “used to have” is correct because you’re describing a state in the past.

  • I used to have a nice career before I retired.
  • They used to have a farm, but now they live in an apartment.
  • Lola used to have two children, but she recently gave birth to another set of twins.

The QuillBot Grammar Checker will fix this and other mistakes automatically.

Is it used to be or use to be?

Use to and used to are frequently confused. In this case, “used to be” is correct because you’re describing a state in the past.

  • I used to be insecure.
  • There used to be a supermarket here.
  • Teddy used to be a writer.

The QuillBot Grammar Checker will fix this and other mistakes automatically.

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Julia Merkus

Julia has master's degrees in Linguistics and Language and speech pathology. Her expertise lies in grammar, language and speech disorders, foreign language learning, and child language acquisition.

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