I was somehow confused encountering this sentence: Didn't you USED TO work with Annie at Macy's?. Should we use USE TO here since we are using Did which needs the base form of the verb.

  • 'used to' is one way to do the past progressive. The standard way of negating 'used to' would be to 'I never used to X' or 'I stopped Xing' or 'I wasn't Xing'. 'I didn't use(d) to' is non-standard; neither is to be written in formal language (newspapers, school work). SO how it is spelled is not rule based. Either way is as 'correct' as the other because either way is not 'correct'. I'd personally write 'didn't used to' because it's pronounced the same way as the positive. 'didn't use to' might be more logical, but logic doesn't always apply in spelling. – Mitch Jun 19 '14 at 13:13
  • The duplicate is a much better fit. – Mari-Lou A Jun 19 '14 at 14:07

It should be use to.

Why? Because you're using a did(not) in your sentence. The general rule is that when you use 'did' in a sentence, the tense used is present.

For example (though in both cases, the intention becomes slightly different due to emphasis)

I did go to the party. vs I went to the party.

You worked with Clara vs You did work with Clara

Similarly with your example:

You used to work with Annie, right? vs Didn't you use to work with Annie?

  • So what's my sin? It would be nice to know the reason for the downvote, otherwise this tells me nothing about what is being 'called out' here. – Shisa Jun 19 '14 at 14:20
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    Perhaps as a guess for the downvote, it could be your saying that the tense following did is in the present. It's not, it's in the bare infinitive. Furthermore, in speech the negative tense didn't use to is identical to the affirmative form *I used to" with the addition of "didn't" in front. – Mari-Lou A Jun 26 '14 at 7:59

Used is the correct form because it is past tense.The phrase used to, in this instance, refers to a past action or condition.

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    This may be common usage, but it would be considered grammatically incorrect by many. "Didn't used" is not how a past tense form would normally be negated; used to is abnormal. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 19 '14 at 10:33
  • I checked in a grammar book and it should be written this DIDN'T USE TO and not DIDN"T USED TO. – user45373 Jun 19 '14 at 10:38
  • Okay, @Janus Bahs Jacqet, I stand corrected. – GMB Jun 19 '14 at 10:59

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