Be used to
Few and Little
Get Used To
Have and Have Got
Lend and Borrow
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect Simple
Present Perfect Cont
Present Perfect Simple
Say and Tell
Small and Little
So and Such
Too and Enough
Will and Going to
Affirmative: used to + infinitive
Negative: didn't use to + infinitive
Question: did + subject + use to
(See the phonemic chart for IPA symbols used below)We use the weak form of to in used to
I ask students to draw a picture of themselves five years ago and now. But, before that, I show them my
own drawings so they can laugh a little and through this, they feel motivated to
draw; it doesn't matter if they don't have the ability to do it, just like me!
After they draw their pictures, I explain to them what my activities and routines were five years ago, things I used to do and that I don't do anymore.
I have a difficult class and I learned that these kinds of activities are good for them to feel more secure and to pay attention for more than 5 minutes.
I divide the board into two sides:
Place of work: Post office
Means of transport: on foot... etc.
I explain that Mark has become a rich man because he won a lot of money
Lottery ticket: 990 million
Place of work: His own office
Means of transport : Car
Then I present the new structure 'used to' by writing 2 or 3 sentences on the board.
I usually teach "used to" by telling the students they have to talk about an old love. For example:
I used to love Peter, we used to eat ice cream in the park, and we used to go cycling...
I usually write some bubbles with topics like food, drink, color, games, tv programs, words related to their
habits or what they like nowadays.
I ask two Ss for each bubble:
What color do you like? What do you like drinking? or what is your favorite drink?
After a while talking, ask them to close their eyes and play a song that is well known that can remind them of their childhood. In Mexico, the most popular ones are Cri cri's (Francisco Gabilondo's) songs. So I guess in your own country there may be a popular singer or special song that you used to listen to when you were children - use it!
After that, I introduce the new structure by telling them what I used to eat, drink, what my favorite color used to be and so on... Then, do the same process you did at the beginning but with the new structure.
I bring in pictures of myself and family members from now and the past, and discuss how we used to look, what
we used to do, etc. compared to how we look, what we do now. Students seem to like the voyeurism aspect of peeking into their teacher's life!
Teacher divides the class into four teams and selects one member of each team to be an old man/woman. Each
group explains what he/she used to do in the past. Other members of the group
can help him/her with the creation of the story or become other characters.
I ask my students to divide their sheet into their present day habits and their habits 10 years ago. Using
those ideas, I give them examples like:
10 years ago, I used to go to elementary school...
I teach "used to" by asking my students about their grandma or grandpa. Then I ask them what kind of music they
listened to and also compare music then and now.
I bring in a variety of portraits and have my ss choose one and create a new identity based on that
portrait. I ask them to write personal information about their new identity.
Then I ask them to go around the class and talk with their classmates. They can
introduce themselves (new identity) and talk about their past identity. For
example, I´m a teacher, but I used to be a business person. They can also ask questions. Greetings from Bolivia!
If you have a good way of introducing or practising this grammar point, tell us about it here...
Try our grammar discussion forum for further help.
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