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Is it proper to say something "used" to be a certain way? Not sure how the word used should be used.

  • Possible duplicate of english.stackexchange.com/questions/30035/i-use-to-or-i-used-to – Lumberjack Oct 4 '13 at 17:44
  • It isn't a word. It's an idiom and has to be followed by to; the two are locked together and have a special pronunciation: /'yustə/, with an /s/, never /'yuzdtə/ with a /z/, which is how used is pronounced. There are two such idioms. One is an auxiliary that takes an infinitive (I used to be a pilot), asserts truth in the past, and presupposes falsity in the present. The other is a predicate adjective meaning 'accustomed, familiar', needs an auxiliary be like any predicate adjective, and takes a noun object or a gerund, but not an infinitive (I'm used to flying/*fly). – John Lawler Oct 4 '13 at 17:48
  • @JohnLawler: Can you just post that as an answer? – MrHen Oct 4 '13 at 17:51
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    @JohnLawler Note however that the second vowel is for many speakers /u/ when it's terminal (I don't fly now, but I used to) or when precedes an unstressed syllable (I'm used to it by now). – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 4 '13 at 19:00
  • @JohnLawler I'm familiar with the 'yuzdtə pronunciation in British English hereabouts. It is pronounced this way at acapela-group.com/text-to-speech-interactive-demo.html ( "He used to go to the pictures.") (UK English) – Edwin Ashworth Oct 4 '13 at 19:46

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