How to use “use”

Since we launched in January, we’ve received a few compliments on one of our rotating taglines: “Hey, didn’t you use to have a blog?” This particular tagline came from a comment someone made to Jason at a cocktail party a few months before we launched.

Since then, though, there’s been considerable debate about the grammar of the sentence. When we first posted it, I thought the correct form was, “Hey, didn’t you used to have a blog?” After a reader of Maggie’s blog posted a comment enlightening me, however, I have seen the light: the correct form is “use.” According to The American Heritage Book of English Usage:

“We use the verb use in its past tense with an infinitive to indicate a past condition or habitual practice: We used to live in that house…When do occurs with this form of use in negative statements and in questions, the situation is reversed, and use to (not used to) is correct: You did not use to play on that team. Didn’t she use to work for your company?”

Several people have written to us to tell us that the current version is wrong, sharing my earlier confusion over this somewhat tricky rule in this very perplexing language. However, rest assured that this is not an oversight and we stand behind “use to.”

Also, we need to get outside more often.

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3 Responses to How to use “use”

  1. Hmmm….in knocking around, I am not able to find a link to technical support. It seems the affectionate Plinky robot enjoys making me reset my password every time I log on. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  2. Grant says:

    The Black Rider: D’oh! Fixed.theliteraryhorse: Hmm, that’s no good. If you’re still having issues, you can always report them at

  3. Elaine says:

    Thank you for not saying “utilize.”

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