Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: used to (3).

used to (3). Today: Contracted Form of “used not to.” In Irish speech, the formal phrase “used not to” is sometimes contracted (rather awkwardly) to “usen’t to” or “usedn’t to” — e.g.: o “Ivy Reading, who worked there for 40 years, said: ‘Saturdays we usen’t to be able to [read ‘couldn’t’] stop even for a cup of tea.” Sarah Lonsdale, “Town Traders Crushed by Market Forces,” Sunday Telegraph, 19 Sept. 1993, at 9. o “‘Usen’t we [read ‘Didn’t we used’] to beat these people?’ complains Daly the bill collector.” Jim Murray, “‘Twas a Result Not Fit for Wearin’ o’ the Green,” L.A. Times, 27 Nov. 1994, at C1. o “‘I usedn’t [read ‘never used to’] agree with having to go back to Wexford for every training session.” Sean Moran, “Dillon on Inter County Stage,” Irish Times, 10 May 1996, at 16 (quoting Mick Dillon, a soccer player). For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Poetry is a fresh look and a fresh listen.” Robert Frost in a letter (as quoted in Robert Pack, “On Wording,” in Writers on Writing 184, 186 (Robert Pack & Jay Parini eds., 1991)).
Scroll to Top