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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

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2 Answers 2

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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