steepholm (steepholm) wrote in linguaphiles,
steepholm
steepholm
linguaphiles

Used to usage

Sometimes I say sentences such as: "Didn't that bakery used to be a fish shop?"

It occurs to me that it would be more grammatically consistent if I said: "Didn't that bakery use to be a fish shop?"

Spoken aloud they sound pretty similar, and now I wonder whether that's what everyone else says anyway, and I've just never noticed. But then, "use to" in that sense is seldom heard in the present tense these days (e.g. "Do you still use to play golf at the weekend?" sounds pretty archaic, if not downright wrong), so perhaps we've all slid into saying "used to" because that's now the default form of the phrase. Again, it's a small step from:

"That bakery used to be a fish shop."
"Did it?"


to

"Didn't that bakery used to be a fish shop?"
"Yes."


I'm not sure where I'm going with this, to be honest, but I'd be interested in other perspectives on this usage.
Tags: english, grammar
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  • Needed: Help with survey

    Dear linguaphiles, Linguistics needs your help! Well... I need your help. ;) I am currently writing a paper on word-finding difficulties in older…

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    Dear linguaphiles, I'm a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Potsdam in Germany, and I'm preparing materials for a new study on…

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