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In this thread How does the phrase "used to" work, grammatically? the construct "used to" is discussed but there is no mention of its pronunciation. Here (Canada) the "used" in this phrase is generally rendered "yoost", an exact rhyme with "roost", and I think that is pretty universal. At first I thought that was simply a consequence of the phonemic context but that is certainly not the case because entirely similar phonemic situations might arise when those same words are (ahem) used to say something like "those words are used to indicate a certain tense", where the word would be rendered "yoozed". As far as I can tell, it is the same word, being used in a different sense. I suppose one simply has to get (ahem) used to it ...

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    The pronunciation difference is similar to, for example, I have to go now or He has to have the last word, which are usually pronounced haff and hass where the meaning involves obligation. When used to involved habitual past action, the /s/ is unvocalized. Personally I would say these specialized usages are effectively different words (that just happen to be spelled the same as the more common forms). – FumbleFingers Jul 21 '16 at 12:05
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    Possible duplicate of Pronunciation of "have" in "I don't have to" [do something] – FumbleFingers Jul 21 '16 at 12:07
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    "Used to", in the sense of being habitual, is an idiom that is mentally/unconsciously treated as a single word by native English speakers. The words "used to" in other senses are not treated as a single word. – Hot Licks Jul 21 '16 at 12:25
  • "I suppose one simply has to get used to it." Correct. And you have the material to write an Answer to your own question. – aparente001 Sep 5 '16 at 4:08
  • I may have the material to WRITE and answer to my question ... but not (at that point) sufficient material to PRONOUNCE it :-) It occurs to me that this pronounciation applies in two semantically distinct usages. In one "used to" is synonymous with "accustomed to". But (here in Canada at any rate) we also say "yoost" in the past habitual which has come to an end as in "We used (yoost) to teach the square root algorithm in elementary school arithmetic". While both concern habitual action, the first refers to one's response to something upon repetition, the other to such action itself – Robert Craigen Sep 10 '16 at 4:15

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