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I cannot find any resources online for tag question with the phrase used to be. I'm looking for something that can give the rules for this example, He used to be handsome, didn't/wasn't he?

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    The negative of used to is didn't used to, so the tag would be ", didn't he?" Oct 6, 2015 at 3:00
  • @JohnLawler: I agree, but wouldn't that be written as "didn't use to"?
    – herisson
    Oct 6, 2015 at 3:22
  • Thanks, Lawler. If you can make it into an answer I can give you best answer and they can close the question. Oct 6, 2015 at 3:26
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    No, Used to is a fixed phrase past tense idiom that must be followed by an infinitive. So it requires Do-Support for negation. I admit it doesnt look right spelled that way, but it doesnt look good the other way, either. Oct 6, 2015 at 3:31
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    @John Lawler << Negative: didn’t use to The negative of used to is most commonly didn’t use(d) to. Sometimes we write it with a final -d, sometimes not. Both forms are common, but many people consider the form with the final -d to be incorrect, and you should not use it in exams: It didn’t use to be so crowded in the shops as it is nowadays. // I didn’t used to like broccoli when I was younger, but I love it now. (Don’t use this form in exams.) >> [English Grammar Today] Jun 11, 2020 at 15:27

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The correct ending would be "didn't he?" Used to pairs with didn't (as in "didn't used to be").

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In comments, John Lawler and Edwin Ashforth wrote:

  • John: The negative of used to is didn't used to, so the tag would be ", didn't he?"
  • John: No, Used to is a fixed phrase past tense idiom that must be followed by an infinitive. So it requires Do-Support for negation. I admit it doesnt look right spelled that way, but it doesnt look good the other way, either.
  • Edwin: @John Lawler

<< Negative: didn’t use to The negative of used to is most commonly didn’t use(d) to. Sometimes we write it with a final -d, sometimes not. Both forms are common, but many people consider the form with the final -d to be incorrect, and you should not use it in exams:

It didn’t use to be so crowded in the shops as it is nowadays. //

I didn’t used to like broccoli when I was younger, but I love it now. (Don’t use this form in exams.) >>

[English Grammar Today]

  • John: Typical that exams deal only with trivialities like spelling and "correctness" instead of real language.

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