I know usen’t isn’t used in everyday English, but how about using it in an exam, an essay, or a formal letter?
Is it right to use usen’t instead of didn’t use to?
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The only use of "usen't" I've ever heard was by W. C. Fields in "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break." He says it to the churlish waitress in the diner scene (at 2:48 of the video clip):
"Usen't you be an old follies girl?"
I agree that "usen't" is inappropriate in formal writing. However, it is found frequently in literature, though almost exclusively in dialogue (or stream of consciousness monologues). For example:
In classical literature:
20th century novelists:
21st century novelists:
Samuel Beckett also uses "usen't" in Embers:
Henry: I usen't to need anyone, just to myself, stories, there was a great one about an old fellow called Bolton, I never finished it, I never finished any of them, I never finished anything, everything always went on for ever. (Pause.)
Good enough for him, good enough for anyone.