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(?) I use to do it
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Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:58 pm    Post subject: (?) I use to do it Reply with quote

It's common for learner, here at least, to say I use to do right after they learn the form I used to do to express present habits.

Do you accept it as a native speaker? Is there any variety of English that you know of which such formulaic usage is possible?

Thanks

José
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it's now the 25th here in the UK, so Merry Christmas everyone, wherever you are! (I'm just taking a quick break from wrapping up the last of the prezzies). Smile

Now for the 'Bah, humbug!' stuff! Very Happy

José, I didn't know that I used to (do) was for expressing 'present habits'* (past, more like, surely?), but certainly, saying (or rather, writing - in speech, the -d merges with the t- of the following 'to') positive 'used to' without the -d (i.e. I use to (do)) would I believe be considered incorrect by pretty much 100% (yes, even Jotham! Laughing Wink Cool Smile ) of the people who('ve) frequent(ed) this forum. (FWIW there have been at least two threads connected to 'used to', the first of which is linked back to from within the following [second] thread: http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?t=9063 ).

*Or did you mean BE used to, with the BE in Simple Present tense? Probably not, eh!
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woodcutter



Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Posts: 1303
Location: London

PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can't make that mistake since they sound the same.

As for writing, wrong, but one of those mistakes which are always being made by natives too and which make a mild prescriptivism necessary for the language teacher.

Merry Xmas.
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Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all Merry Christmas for all here. You have really helped me since 2003. Because of you I've been mastering the language and I have been a better practitioner.

Quote:

It's common for learner, here at least, to say I use to do right after they learn the form I used to do to express present habits.


My bad, poor reference, what I meant by present habits is the fact that students right after mastering used to deduce that there would be a use to form for present habits. Maybe if I had used a comma you'd have got what I first meant.

I really think that what plays the main role here is the fact that in Portuguese we have the verb costumar a which can refer to present or past habits according to the conjugational paradigm of the verb, rather than the fact that phonologically used to and use to is not distinguishable. And I've seen a lot of this *I use to... and they are clearly talking about present habits.

Thanks

José
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, OK, I see what you were on about now, José!

Language interference (in this case, the workings of Portuguese being transplanted onto English) can be a problem, but I'd hope that attentive learners would take note of the (English) exact co-text and context more than start making let alone persist with too many "clear" errors (in English at least). Ultimately it would be a case of having enough quality input, and exposure generally. Obviously, you are in a good position to warn your students off of this one!

Anyway, have a Happy New Year, people!
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Heath



Joined: 18 Aug 2009
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:36 am    Post subject: accustomed to Reply with quote

The use of "be used to" might potentially add to the confusion, if they've heard that used in a present context, eg. "I'm used to Chinese food". The meaning is obviously rather different, and in writing it has the 'd' anyway, but if they've heard this in English at a similar time to having heard "used to" for past habits, etc... Well, I can't imagine that this would be the initial cause, but it could compound the problem.

It would be interesting to find out for sure whether the misuse is due to L1 influence (related to costumar*) or whether due to developing interlanguage (a fairly logical deduction, I guess).



* Out of curiosity, does Portuguese use costumar in both ways ('be used to' and 'used to') too? It's vaguely similar to English 'accustomed'.
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J.M.A.



Joined: 09 Feb 2009
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:25 pm    Post subject: Re: accustomed to Reply with quote

Heath wrote:


* Out of curiosity, does Portuguese use costumar in both ways ('be used to' and 'used to') too? It's vaguely similar to English 'accustomed'.


Yes it does, as long as you aware that both "costumar" and "acostumar" exist. Generally we use "acostumado" to express "be used to", at least in the Portuguese I'm used to Wink If my intuition is wrong I'm sure José will correct me.

Não estou acostumado a tomar café da manha.
I don't usually have breakfast.
or
I'm not used to having breakfast


Costumava tomar café da manha todos os dias.
I used to have breakfast every day.

In any case I would think José's problem was an example of L1 interference typical of Brazilian learners.
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MrPedantic



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"To use to do X" once had an ordinary present form in English, e.g.

1. I do not use to jest (Romeo and Juliet)
2. I do not use to let my wife be acquainted with the secret affairs of my state (Walpole, Castle of Otranto)
3. Tattle [a character] does not use to bely a lady (Congreve, Love for Love)

This has now all but disappeared, in British and American English, except as a deliberately archaic usage; but I have come across it in Indian and Nigerian English.

Cf.

4. I didn't use to do X. [sometimes misspelt "didn't used to"]

Best wishes,

MrP
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JuanTwoThree



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 947
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anybody feels the need to take MrPedantic to task over

[sometimes misspelt "didn't used to"]

before they do, they really should read the thread that fluffy links to above, as well as the marathon previous thread that is linked to in it, and ask themselves very seriously if there is much else to add. I think it's been done to death.
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Luba



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Slovakia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok...may I have a question considering "used to"?

Is this indirect speech correct?
My mother said she had used to be a heavy smoker.

Thanks in advance
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Luba! It's not necessary to add the perfect aspect - in fact, it makes the sentence sound unnatural, to me.

I mean, ask yourself, would your mother say (have said* Smile ) 'I used to be a heavy smoker' or 'I had used to be a heavy smoker'? Obviously only the former, in which case, why add a word to her very words?

But I suppose there might be extended contexts (e.g. pulp fiction stories - where the narration is very much "in the past" - with lots of brooding flashbacks, maybe? Very Happy ), in which a past perfect of 'used to' perhaps crops up occasionally (though I guess it would still be pretty rare, assuming it actually occurs/is attested). You'd need to check for this yourself however...and see * below.

*So modifying 'said' to 'had said' would be fine, but 'used to' to 'had used to' sounds a bit odd. Maybe there is a slight analogy lurking with *had can, *had could etc? (To be distinguished from can have, could have -ed...which brings us however full-circle to *can (have) used to, ??/*could (have) used to).
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Luba



Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Slovakia

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi fluffyhamster,

Thank you very much. You know for me it is difficult to imagine what my mother would say as she doesnt speak English Smile..for us /the English learners/ it is actually quite difficult to get the feeling what a native speaker would say. Our grammar is very different from yours so sometimes all we can do is to follow your grammar rules. Just like in this case. I was taught about the tense shift when there is an indirect speech so I thought it could be correct to say My mother said she had used to smoke as the direct sentence was I used to smoke...past tense into past perfect.
I lived in Paris. SHe said she had lived in Paris. Right?
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You know for me it is difficult to imagine what my mother would say as she doesnt speak English Smile


LOL! Laughing Very Happy

'Used to' is adding quite enough "pastness" already to 'smoke' (and bear in mind by the way that that 'smoke' is non-finite whichever way you phrase it, unless of course "your mother" Very Happy said 'I smoked a lot when I was younger, but I gave up years ago' (though quite how you would communicatively rephrase/report that last sentence wouldn't, and of course couldn't, be exactly fixed according to any rule set in stone).

Anyway the point of this repetitive preamble is that yes, a verb that isn't prefaced by 'used to' may take 'had' before it, but unfortunately the example you've chosen still doesn't need the addition of 'had' (i.e. perfect aspect/past perfect):

I live in Paris - She (says/)said (that) she lives in Paris.

I lived in Paris - She (says/)said (that) she lived in Paris (or indeed, (reported as) has lived, has that "experience"; or perhaps even used to live, in the sense of "obviously doesn't live there anymore").

Basically, the sentence 'She said she had lived in Paris' would be fine in a printed story (which can be all one long report, all past, from which the further backshifting of the perfect is natural; see link and quote below (not recommending it as a story, just that it is one of the first links from a Goole search for "she said she had lived in" that seems to illustrate the point I'm trying to make)), but interpersonal conversation is very much in the present so the general default reporting "backshift" is only from the present > simple past rather than from already simple past > past perfect.

http://truthdive.com/2009/12/09/lakshmikutty-a-short-story/
Quote:
I can’t call this a short story, as it would not do justice to Lakshmikutty . I first saw Lakshmikutty when I was riding my bike(bicycle) between Division and Chicago Avenue. I had just had a lazy late Saturday breakfast at “Milk and Honey”. As I mentioned earlier, I must have been a little lazy that day, as I was biking on the pavement instead of the road. I glanced at Lakshmikutty as I rode past her, thought for a minute, and finally came to a full halt.

I did not stop for any romantic reasons. Although, I admit the name sounds romantic, suitable for a short story. I stopped because she reminded me of my mother. She was old. Probably, in the later part of her 60s. A *beep* name for an old lady! She wore a baggy semi-Indian and semi-western wear, a kind of wear you would not bother to crease. She was short and looked like a traditional Indian. Reminding me of the many Indian parents visiting their immigrant children in their new found homeland. I would have thought she was lost, if she did not walk so fast and sure. If you are from the city, you would know that the block between Division and Chicago houses a big community of gays, hippies and young professionals. You occasionally do see some young American born Desis(Indians) with their Caucasian husbands or girlfriends. So it was no wonder she stood out in the neighborhood.. She seemed a little over decisive and in a hurry towards her destination, for a person of her age in a foreign country.

“What if she was was lost in the big city?”

I tried to dismiss that possibility as I did not what to disturb my somber routine for that day. Then a irritating thought came up, “What if she were my mother?”

I turned my bike and pedaled past an young white couple, went ahead of Lakshmikutty, so that I don’t startle her, and asked her politely if she were lost in English. She did not understand me immediately. And so I asked her in my broken Hindi, if she needed any help.

“No. Are you a Hindiwalla?” She seemed glad as only an old immigrant would be, to meet one of their kind in a far away land.

“No, am a Tamil”.

“oh Tamil! I am from Kerala”, She was enthusiastic in her reply.

“Are you from this neighborhood?”

She lived at the Hoynes intersection. She spoke in a mix of old Tamil and Malayalam. I must inform you that Tamil and Malayalam are sisters with similar dialect. She explained the route to her home, while I nodded my head politely hiding my disinterest. And where her son lived…

Relieved, I explained why I stopped her and was steering the conversation to an end. She enthusiastically asked me if I was an “Iyer” (an Indian caste). Taken aback, I said no, after quietly thinking how to react to her question. Not one to give up, She asked if I was a “Mudaliar”? I said no again.

She must have left India a long-time ago to not be aware of the changed Indian conversational etiquette. Moreover, she seemed innocent and enthusiastic to care about change.

“Appa yaaru?”(Then who?). She was not easily beaten back.

I mentioned my caste and she repeated it loudly once, trying to think. Soon she started recollecting her Tamil friend Krishnan and Shobha from New York.

Trying to switch topics, I asked her in a condescending manner you talk to an old woman, if she has been in US for long. She had been in US since 1981. Taken up by her enthusiasm, I said “Oh!”. And without my asking she said she had lived in New Jersey and New York. And started telling me about her family, first son, second son and his “American” wife, and her husband. She lived alone in an apartment in Wicker Park, close to her second son’s family. Her second son recently had a child. It was evident from her language that she did not feel her daughter-in-law was one of “us”. Mild curiosity creeped in and I asked her politely what her husband did. .....
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, thinking about it some more I suppose that there's nothing wrong with reporting 'I live in Paris' as 'She said she had lived in Paris', but I still think that there can in the real (contextually richer) world often be much more context (i.e. shared background knowledge), enough so that 1: 'She said she lived in Paris' won't always be taken as meaning 2: 'She lives in Paris' (i.e. everyone could well know that she lives in London now instead, so the 'lived' in 1 will be interpreted as truly factually past, rather than just 'linguistically-formally "past"' [according to some "zombie rule"?!] in this wider real-world-knowledge context). I suppose this was the main point I was trying to make in my previous post. Smile Wink Cool

Anyway, I just find the reported speech rules a bit too mechanical (that is, I think they can create problems and/or are sometimes not actually needed). But who knows, maybe I need to study them a lot harder and take them much more seriously? (Possible irony alert!).

Nah, what was I thinking! I still reckon they'd be too restrictive (certainly for a native speaker - implying, such rules could be a worrisome uncomfortable straightjacket for non-natives who take 'em too seriously).
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Dave's and us is (us are? Smile ) linked to not once but twice over on a Language Log discussion. Apparently us Daveites 'bicker': http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2756#comment-92281 . (Good job John Walden hadn't spotted this third "didn't used to" thread! Very Happy ).

I must say though that I wasn't too sure about something that a Mira wrote:
Quote:
I'm an EFL teacher, and I confirm what boynamedsue said. We're supposed to teach "used to" and "didn't use to", unless, apparently, it's a question, in which case we can say "Did you used to…?". This all seems completely artificial and divorced from the way actual English is spoken. I've never made this distinction myself, and both "didn't use to be" and "didn't used to be" look sort of wrong to me — if I had to use that phrase, I'd probably say "used to not be", which would be dismissed by my boss and coworkers, I'm sure, as ungrammatical and American.

EFL English can be a little bizarre sometimes. Lots of materials I've come across written by Czechs have said that "Used you to like spinach?" and "I usedn't to like spinach" are correct. This makes my head hurt.
( http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2756#comment-92688 )

Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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