50 Comments This discussion is locked.
"Use to" in conjunction with "did" is indeed the correct form. However "used to" is commonly used even by well educated native English speakers. In my opinion, the purpose of this course is to teach Portuguese to English speakers, not to reinforce "proper" English for English speakers. Therefore, I believe that "used to" should be accepted.
In a negative sentence, "used to" becomes "did not use to". It works like other regular verbs in English. This link explains the grammar:
She didn't use to drink wine, I think, is the grammatically correct option. Although, I'm sure that many people say what you have written.
In speach "use to" and "used to" will end up sounding the same for most speakers, unless they are being precise in their diction.
Wikipedia has a very interesting article that covers the semi-modal auxiliary verb "used to": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_markers_of_habitual_aspect.
Actually, it is also considered correct to say "She did not used to drink wine," although that is now less common. Of course, it would be wrong to do likewise to just any ordinary verb. Well, "use/used" can also be just an ordinary verb, but there is even a distinction in pronunciation. As an ordinary verb it is pronounced with a z sound: /juːzd/, while as a marker of habitual aspect, it is pronounced with an s sound: /juːsd/. Most of us don't even realize we say it differently, even if we never fail to do so. I think that once we are aware of how we pronounce this special verb differently, then it would no longer feel wrong to say "She did not used to drink wine."
I hope that all that changes, but it seems like division and hatred are being spewed and too many people are buying it. OTOH, there are some bright spots, the democratic candidate in NYC, not even 30!
Portuguese, although a little formal or literary, uses the simple forms meaning progressive tenses.
These may be possible translations:
- No momento, eu bebo vinho = At the moment, I am drinking wine
- Naquele momento, ela não bebia vinho = At that moment, she was not drinking wine
Both Randolph Quick, British grammarian, and the Cambridge Dictionary contradict your statement that "did not use to" is "bad" English.
Quirk: (A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Longman): "'He usen't to smoke' and 'He used not to smoke' as preferred by many in British English, and 'He didn't use to smoke' is used by both British English and American English speakers."
This tense may be a usual action in the past (which would take "used to" in English)
There is a type of past habitual action in English that takes "would". This is different from the usual conditionals, though:
- When I was a child, my mom would (used to) read me a story every night = Quando eu era criança, minha mãe lia uma história toda noite para mim
- If I were you, I would (conditional) think twice... = Se eu fosse você, (eu) pensaria duas vezes....
Also, there is an informal usage of the preterite imperfect replacing the conditionals:
- Se eu fosse você, eu pensaria duas vezes (formal) = Se eu fosse você, eu pensava duas vezes (informal)
Finally, Portuguese simple tenses may be used (although more formally and literary) as continuous actions:
- Ela bebia = (may be) = Ela estava bebendo
Those are the reasons for accepting so many variations (all of them with sort of a continuous sense):
- Ela não bebia vinho =
- She did not drink wine
- She did not use to drink wine
- She would not drink wine
- She was not drinking wine
But for very very literal translations, you can follow Paulenrique's answer :)
I admit that in conversational English "use to" and "used to" sound pretty much the same. But if I were an English speaker I would probably try to avoid either one in this sentence--something like "she didn't drink wine back then," or just "she didn't drink wine." "She didn't drink the wine" would be a simple past tense.