There's a line in Alice in Wonderland:

I can't remember things as I used—and I don't keep the same size for ten minutes together!

I wonder why the 'to' has been omitted from the verb 'used to'. Shouldn't the line read "I can't remember things as I used to—and I don't keep the same size for ten minutes together!"?

  • 3
    It should be "used to" in modern English usage. Alice in Wonderland was written in 1865, and they spoke slightly differently back then. Jan 8, 2014 at 14:56
  • @PeterShor One does still hear people use the Lewis Carroll version, at least that's the case in Britain. It was far more common when I was a child in the late forties/early fifties.
    – WS2
    Jan 8, 2014 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


The normal contemporary use is "I can't remember things as I used to". I've not heard the Alice in Wonderland usage outside of the book.

  • Perhaps Alice just forgot to add the to. Jan 8, 2014 at 22:20
  • Or the em dash is actually her abruptly cutting herself off.
    – nxx
    Jan 9, 2014 at 23:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.