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What’s the negation of “I used to be”? Surely not “I didn’t used to be”?

Should I say I "didn't used to" do something? Or "didn't use to"?

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Dec 28 '12 at 9:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

The negative of English verbs is formed with the appropriate form of the auxiliary verb do followed by not (or its contraction) and the plain form of the main verb. I knew, for example, becomes I didn’t know in the negative.

In the same way, I used to becomes I didn’t use to. In speech, /d/ is the voiced version of /t/, which means that the /t/ at the beginning of ‘to’ may sometimes be heard, or even pronounced, as /d/, giving the impression that what is being said is I didn't used to. In writing, however, it should always appear as use.

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"I didn't use to" is grammatically correct. Only one element of the main verb can carry the tense marker. If you say *"I didn't used to", two elements are carrying the past tense marker: "didn't" & "used".

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