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https://www.duolingo.com/mymouse

"Didn't used to"

mymouse
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I am not a native English speaker but I know that the sentences like "He used to smoke" and "He didn't use to smoke" are correct. In Italian course I met sentence "They didn't used to speak English". Is it also correct or this is a bug?

Screenshot: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1sbZPDHXmQQU285VlYxRFF4Tnc

4 years ago

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/kristinemc

We have fixed this error so that we accept 'didn't use to'. Thank you for the screenshot :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mymouse
mymouse
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Thank you

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Viaggiatore

Strictly, it's ungrammatical to say "didn't used to". But many English speakers think "used" is the only form of the verb "use" with this meaning. Duo can fight it, go along with it, or accept both "didn't use to" and "didn't used to".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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I believe "didn't use to" should be accepted. There was a discussion on this a few weeks ago but I can't find it now.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aspielman
aspielman
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I am surprised that Duolingo accepts 'didn't use to' let alone 'didn't used to'. Either of these used in any but the most informal situation would sound odd, and I would not want anyone to come away thinking that this was 'correct'. It does raise the question of whether Duolingo is trying to teach 'standard' usage or not. The Duolingo format provides no guidance on when a given form can be used, which leads me to think it should be more restrictive rather than accepting anything that might ever be said in any context.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Viaggiatore

"Didn't use to" doesn't bother Webster's Online Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/use Here's another: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/used+to

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aspielman
aspielman
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You are right that it appears here. However I just did a search of the whole Economist back library and can find only one example (except in the unedited blogs and comments). I did the same on the New York Times and found a dozen or so, of which most were direct quotes in inverted commas (ie quotation marks). This tends to reinforce my perception that this is a colloquialism that may be fine in speech but doesn't really pass muster in good written English.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Viaggiatore

It would be tedious to point you to all the online English grammar sites that explain the "used to" expression without disdain. As for the NYT, again it shows up: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/booming/didnt-you-used-to-be-romeo.html http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/03/12/young-black-and-male-in-america/spend-money-on-schools-instead-of-the-war-on-drugs Perhaps I don't understand what you're saying.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NicolletAve
NicolletAve
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For what it's worth, I agree. I was a bit confused reading the topic here, because I didn't think "didn't use to" was a real phrase in English. The correct phrase, IMO, is "never used to".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jfGor
jfGor
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@aspielman:I think you must be thinking of 'he use to didn't" which does not sound correct.

4 years ago