Usually vs Used to

Used to Swim in The River

       Usually vs Used to. A common mistake both for learners of English is the difference between “Usually” and “Used to”. We sometimes say “usually” instead of “used to”. For example; when I was child, I usually swam in the river. Is this example true? For the answer of this question, let’s study the difference between “usually” and “used to” below.


       The meaning of “usually” is in the way that most often happens.

      “Usually” is used for saying what is true or what happens regularly in the present.


  • He usually gets home about six o’clock.
  • I usually just have a sandwich for lunch.
  • Is your friend usually so rude?
  • Usually we go skiing in February.
  • Do you cook your own meals in the evenings?

As commonly or habitually happens: As usual


  • Dictionaries are usually printed on thin paper.
  • The 6 p.m. train is usually very crowded.
  • I usually do the weekly shop on a Monday.
  • She doesn’t usually take part in any of the class activities.

“Usually” is followed by an infinitive or infinitive + s.


  • The children usually stay with their grandparents for a week in the summer.
  • She usually plays games in her room.


        The meaning of “used to” is in the way that most often happened in the past.

       “Used to” is used for saying what was true or what happened regularly in the past, especially when you want to emphasize that this is not true or does not happen now


  • Long time ago A great number of women used to die in childbirth.
  • In those days, people used to write a lot more letters.
  • When I lived in Surabaya, I used to eat out all the time.
  • He’s rather shy, although he’s not as bad as he used to be.
  • The apple pie was as good as the one my grandmother used to make.
  • I used to enjoy gardening, but I don’t have time for it now.
  • She used to love dancing, but she doesn’t do it anymore.
  • You don’t come and see me like you used to.

“Used to” is usually followed by an infinitive:


  • We used to swim in the river.
  • He used to go on foot to school.

But sometimes the following infinitive is left out.


  • I don’t play golf now, but I used to.
  • They study hard now, but they didn’t use to.

Remember that “Used to” only exists as a past tense.

Questions are usually formed with Did + Subject + use to


  • Did you use to work here?
  • Where did you use to live before you moved here?
  • negatives are usually formed with Did + use to
  • We didn’t use to earn much.
  • I didn’t use to like him, but now we’re good friends.
  • Customers didn’t use to want to shop from home.

In formal English, negatives are often formed with used not to:


  • They used not to allow shops to be open on Sundays.
  • There used not to be so much violence.

       That’s all I can share about the difference between “usually” and “used to”. Hopefully it can useful for increasing our English.

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