Is it Use To or Used To? | Difference & Example Sentences

Used to and use to are related phrases that can have the same meaning but are used differently.

  • Used to is a verb that indicates a past habit, action, or state. It can also be used as an adjective meaning “accustomed to.”
  • Use to also indicates a past habit, action, or state, but it’s only used in combination with “did,” “did not,” or “didn’t.”
Examples: Used to in a sentence Examples: Use to in a sentence
Sophie lives near the train tracks, so she’s used to a lot of noise. Did you use to be a musician?
There used to be a theater in the city, but it closed down. Zack didn’t use to care about politics.
Note
The confusion regarding used to and use to is partly due to the blended “d” sound at the end of “used” and the “t” sound at the beginning of “to,” which means the two spellings are pronounced similarly. However, in formal and academic writing, it’s important to note the difference.

Used to as an adjective

Used to can be used as an adjective to modify a noun. In this context, it’s always used along with a version of the helping verb “to be” (e.g., “I am,” “she is,” “they are”).

Examples: Used to as an adjective
I’m used to the cold because I live in Norway.

As a doctor, Nick is used to working long hours.

In the second example above, “working” is a gerund (i.e., a verb in its present participle form that functions as a noun).

Used to as a verb

Used to is a verb used to indicate a past habit, action, or fact that is no longer the case. Used to functions similarly to a modal verb, meaning that it modifies the main verb of a clause.

In this context, “used” is combined with the preposition “to” and the infinitive of a verb (e.g., “walk,” “sing,” “think”).

Examples: Used to as a verb
We used to visit my grandma every week when we lived nearby.

Maddison used to take the bus to work but now she drives.

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Use to is a verb

Use to is a version of used to that’s only used in combination with “did,” “didn’t,” or “did not” (this occurs in questions, in negative statements, and for emphasis).

Examples: Use to as a verb
Have you always lived here, or did you use to live somewhere else?

Alicia didn’t use to read much, but now she reads one book each week.

I’m not much of an athlete, but I did use to cycle quite regularly.

Tip
The “d” is omitted in use to because the verb “did” is already in the past tense. It’s the same reason it would be incorrect to write something like “He didn’t walked” or “Did it arrived?”—the tense is already indicated by the first verb.

I use to or I used to

I used to can be used to refer to a habit you had in the past but no longer have. “I use to” is incorrect.

Examples: I used to in a sentence
I used to play tennis twice a week before I injured my knee.

I used to be a writer, but now I am a teacher.

Get used to it

Get used to it is an expression meaning “become accustomed to it.” In this context, “it” is replacing a noun that is already known. “Get use to it” is never correct.

Examples: Get used to it in a sentence
The job is always this demanding. Get used to it.

I typically don’t wake up this early, but I’ll get used to it after a week or so.

Worksheet: Used to or use to

Test your knowledge of the difference between “used to” and “use to” with the worksheet below. Fill in either “used to” or “use to” in each sentence.

  1. Did you _______ work on a farm?
  2. I recently moved to Arizona, and I’m not _______ the warm weather yet.
  3. Chelsea _______ sing in a choir on Monday evenings.
  4. You didn’t _______ be so moody.
  5. I _______ struggle with my exercise regime, but I got _______ it.
  1. Did you use to work on a farm?
    • Here, “use to” is the correct form, because it’s used in combination with “did” to form a question.
  1. I recently moved to Arizona, and I’m not used to the warm weather yet.
    • “Used to” is an adjective meaning “accustomed to.”
  1. Chelsea used to sing in a choir on Monday evenings.
    • Here, “used to” is used as a verb to indicate a past habit, action, or fact.
  1. You didn’t use to be so moody.
    • Here, the form “use to” is correct, because it’s preceded by “didn’t.”
  1. I used to struggle with my exercise regime, but I got used to it.
    • In the first instance, the verb “used to” referring to a past action is correct. In the second instance, “got used to” meaning “became accustomed to” is correct.

Other interesting language articles

If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

 

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Frequently asked questions about used to or use to

Is it used to be or use to be?

Use to and used to are commonly confused words. In the case of “used to be”, the latter (with “d”) is correct, since you’re describing an action or state in the past.

  • I used to be the new coworker.
  • There used to be 4 cookies left.
  • We used to walk to school every day.
Is it use to do or used to do?

Use to and used to are commonly confused words. In the case of “used to do”, the latter (with “d”) is correct, since you’re describing an action or state in the past.

  • I used to do laundry once a week.
  • They used to do each other’s hair.
  • We used to do the dishes every day.
Is it use to have or used to have?

Use to and used to are commonly confused words. In the case of “used to have”, the latter (with “d”) is correct, since you’re describing an action or state in the past.

  • I used to have a girlfriend.
  • We used to have a car.
  • We used to have classes every day.

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.