Oh for crying out loud! I have just lost a heart for writing 'used to' and being told it should be 'use to' - so, against my better judgement, but so as not to lose another heart, I put 'use to' on this one and - guess what - lost a heart and had 'use' crossed out and replaced with 'used' - I despair!!!
The rule is not positive versus negative. It's simply a matter of where the conjugation of use appears in the syntax. In "I did not use to be . . . ," use is the infinitive form because it's preceded by the auxiliary verb did. In "I used to be . . . ," used is conjugated in its past tense form. It works just like any other verb in English. People are confused by this simply because "use to" and "used to" sound identical. They use their ears instead of analyzing why words fit together as they do. They're not educated in English grammar.
You wouldn't say "I didn't cried"; you'd say "I didn't cry."
You wouldn't say, "Did he ate?"; you'd say "Did he eat?"
Actually, it's whether the verb is preceded by a form of "did" or not. Negative statements usually use "did", but not always, and positive statements rarely do, but they may.
- I used to go there.
- Right, so you did use to take Spanish classes.
- He didn't use to like chocolate.
- I never used to bake in the morning.
And good luck hearing the distinction in everyday speech. The phoentic difference between "use to" and "used to" is frequently lost in the fusion of the stops (d and t), and further complicated by the fact that either may be either dental or aveolar in various regional dialects of English.
I have no trouble with the straightforward "used to" - where it gets into pure craziness here is with a negative for "used to" so stick to "used to" when no negative is involved and at least you'll get that part right -- I can't keep straight what DL has chosen on the various instances so far, but because they are using the vernacular for which there really are no rules, complete frustration is guaranteed. Have a heart. I just had the identical experience to yours in my previous sentence and it was all I could do not to get up and walk out of the house and go to a bar. Sheesh!
AchyuthanS, yes, it has the same meaning if you eliminate the second él, but then the subject of the second clause opens up to even more possibilities since era is used for yo, él, ella, usted, and pretty much all singular nouns. (Before the medication, he used to think the dog was a doctor.) I suspect, without context, if the second pronoun isn't stated, that the first and second subjects are assumed to be the same. (That's a working theory which probably relies too much on English) However, without context, all 4 of those pronouns are correct possibilities.
That's my question too. It failed me on "He was thinking that he used to be a doctor." and it says it should be "was" instead of "used to be". Not that the clues are always trustworthy, but it also gives "used to be" as the first suggestion for "era". Does anyone know if this is for a reason, or if it's just an alternative they haven't gotten around to accepting?
This controversy over the verb 'to use' seems to be distracting everyone in translating the past tense verb from Spanish to English. Saying 'used to think', in this instance, is merely the only way to distinguish between the continuous action of thought as opposed to a single, momentary thought. The verb in question here, and the action being described by it, is 'to think', not 'to use'. I translated this sentence as 'He thought he was a doctor'. Which, in English, is correct, and distinguishable as either a continuous state of mind, or a momentary thought by context. We would rarely say 'He used to think that he was a doctor', as it would probably have been expressed as in the examples 'In the past, he thought he was a doctor', or, 'When he was suffering from delusions, he thought he was a doctor'. DL did not accept my translation as a correct one, which I understand, because we have to show that we understand the difference between the two forms of past tense in Spanish and when it is appropriate to use them. So, please, can we stop arguing over whether we should say 'use' or 'used', because, in my opinion, it's irrelevant. (As far as these exercises in past tense translation are concerned.)