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Use of English?

Kevin W.C1Kwiziq community member

Use of English?

My comment relates to English rather than French usage in that I think some non-native English speakers may be confused by the sentence in the second example you give. "Sarah didn't use to trust Thomas" The past participle of "to use" in this case is "used " not "use" although it may be that common America English practice may differ. You could employ "use" to say that "I didn't use the books you suggested" but you would need "used" in front of an infinitive such as "I used to live in London" or "I used to trust you". I refer you to Fowler's Modern English Usage 2nd Ed. p670 where it is pointed out that the modern expression "he used to" replaces an arcane "he uses to". Just to point out that English can be just as exacting as French. Cordialement. K

Asked 4 years ago
Alan G.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

In fact "didn't use to" is correct. It changes in the negative because it follows the normal pattern where "didn't" is followed by the infinitive.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/used-to

 

Chris W.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, "didn't use to" is correct, at least in American English.

Kevin W.C1Kwiziq community member

I stand corrected.

Kevin W.C1Kwiziq community member

I said I stand corrected. In my defence, however, I quote Fowler ""He didn't use to" should be regarded as an archaism rather than the vulgerism it is thought to be in England though not in US." Just goes to show we only think we speak a common language :-).

Alan G.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

From what I can find on the Internet, it seems that edition recommended "he used not to", which is certainly more elegant, and probably sounded less old-fashioned in 1965.

Mark P.C1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I agree completely.. didn't use to trust looks very odd in UK English.. you might say it but it doesn't scan.. she used to trust him is fine but the negative looks wrong.. what is wrong with she didn't trust him.. anything else seems tautological.

Anne D.C1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I think it looks odd is because unless one’s diction is very pedantic, the "d" at the end of used isn’t really pronounced, so "use to" and  "used to" sound the same.

There is a slight difference in sense between "didn’t use to trust" which stresses that it was in the past and "didn’t trust" which doesn’t. For example "She didn’t use to trust him but she does now".

(UK English speaker)

Use of English?

My comment relates to English rather than French usage in that I think some non-native English speakers may be confused by the sentence in the second example you give. "Sarah didn't use to trust Thomas" The past participle of "to use" in this case is "used " not "use" although it may be that common America English practice may differ. You could employ "use" to say that "I didn't use the books you suggested" but you would need "used" in front of an infinitive such as "I used to live in London" or "I used to trust you". I refer you to Fowler's Modern English Usage 2nd Ed. p670 where it is pointed out that the modern expression "he used to" replaces an arcane "he uses to". Just to point out that English can be just as exacting as French. Cordialement. K

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