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crliu



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 10:44 pm    Post subject: used to? Reply with quote

How do I make a "question" sentence out of the sentence below?

They used to live in the same room.

Is it correct to write "Did they use to live in the same room" as a question?

Thanks for your help.
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obelix



Joined: 09 Feb 2003
Posts: 304

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Used they to live in the same room?
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Lib



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Did the use to live....? or 'Used they to live ...?' Both options are correct.
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 109
Location: Scotland/Mexico

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

obelix wrote:
Used they to live in the same room?


Sorry, if this is out of line... But

What planet are you from? Shocked

Iain
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bud



Joined: 09 Mar 2003
Posts: 2111
Location: New Jersey, US

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never heard of the construction Obelix and Lib used, and I would have thought it was incorrect. Since two have said the same thing, I guess it is a difference between BE and AE.

In AE, it would be phrased as: "Did they use to live in the same room?"
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Corey



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Posts: 445
Location: Costa Rica

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Used they to live"....

NEVER.

"Did they used to live..." is the ONLY way I can think of the use this.

Good luck,

Corey
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bud



Joined: 09 Mar 2003
Posts: 2111
Location: New Jersey, US

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Corey, but I think "use" would not be in its past form. "Did" conveys that it was in the past. It'd be like saying "Did they failed to come to the meeting?" which is obviously incorrect.
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Lib



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it (used you to ...) sounds strange, but I've seen it in several books .... will look it up again and let you all know where.. I've also heard people use it ... but then, I've heard things like 'you better go' too.
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 109
Location: Scotland/Mexico

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2003 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bud wrote:
Since two have said the same thing, I guess it is a difference between BE and AE.


What Lib and obelix wrote is incorrect, and has nothing to do with British English.

Other languages, like Spanish, have a much nicer way of expressing habitial actions, eg. ¿Vivia ellos en el mismo cuatro? Spanish uses an imperfect tense that English doesn't have.

It often helps to look things up. "Used to" is a special case:
http://www.bartleby.com/64/C001/065.html

Iain
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Last edited by dduck on Sun May 25, 2003 11:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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pugachevV



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 2295

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2003 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the Oxford you can say, "did they use to?" or "used they to?"
So pardon me if I disregard your assertion that it is incorrect, Ducky baby.
Some of the older grammar books say that "did they use to?" is not correct but as Mark and others have said, the language is developing constantly.
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 109
Location: Scotland/Mexico

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pugachevV wrote:
According to the Oxford you can say, "did they use to?" or "used they to?"
So pardon me if I disregard your assertion that it is incorrect, Ducky baby.
Some of the older grammar books say that "did they use to?" is not correct but as Mark and others have said, the language is developing constantly.


Okay, I eventually pulled out my books and I looked it up. To my astonishment Shocked I found it in Practical English Usage. Michael Swan.

577.3
In formal style, used to can have the forms of a modal auxiliary verb, especially in British English. The modal question forms are rare. e.g.

Used you to play football at school?

I also looked it up in my Oxford English dictionary, which described the usage as old fashioned, and very formal.

According to Swan this expression is particular to British English, but I've never heard anyone ever use it. Are teachers really teaching this stuff? And if so, why?

Iain[/b]
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Lib



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Other languages, like Spanish, have a much nicer way of expressing habitial actions, eg. ¿Vivia ellos en el mismo cuatro? Spanish uses an imperfect tense that English doesn't have.

In my humble opinion, just about everything is nicer in Spanish. So at least we agree on that. Maybe you should have said ¿Vivían (ellos) en el mismo cuaRTo?, which means Did they use to live in the same room? Living in a 'four' sounds rather strange, don't you think?
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Lib



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to Swan this expression is particular to British English, but I've never heard anyone ever use it. Are teachers really teaching this stuff? And if so, why? .......
(Sorry, the quote thing isn't as easy as it looks - so the above is a quote from Dduck)
Just because you haven't heard it, doesn't mean that people don't use it. I've heard it lots of times.
Whether or not I teach it is a different matter entirely.[/quote]
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 109
Location: Scotland/Mexico

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've learned a couple of things. But I certainly wouldn't encourage students to use "old fashioned", and "very formal" language without mentioning the fact. Seems irresponsible to me. Rolling Eyes

And it's quite possible that you mix in different social circles to me; I'm not on first name terms with the Queen. Cool

Iain
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marksesl



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2003 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way people actually talk now is what matters. It's "Did they use to live in the same room." And, "use" not "used" is correct, because "Did" is already in the past tense. --so there!

Be sure to post messages on Mark's ESL World Grammar Forum:

http://eslwideworld.com/forums/cgi/access/grammar_help.cgi
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