: if someone or something
used to do something, they did it for a period of time in the past, or they did
it regularly in the past, but they do not do it now
"Do you smoke?" "No, but I
used to do something
We used to live in Glasgow when I was
there used to be
Thirty years ago, there used to be a market
in the town.
never used to
It never used to rain as much as this.
didn't use to do something
"didn't use to do
I was surprised to see her driving—she
didn't use to.
used not to do something
"used not to do
He used not to be so critical of other
at one time
: during a period of
time in the past but not now - use this when it is not important to say exactly
when this period was
It is a big city now, but at one time the
population was only 50,000.
(back) then/at that time
a particular period of time in the past - use this when you are comparing that
period with the present
I was a student in the 1950s, and things
were very different then.
At that time most married women stayed at
in the past
: use this to talk
about a situation that existed before the present time but does not exist now
In the past, most children didn't go to
school at all.
Women were not allowed to vote in the past.
in those days/in the old days
use this to talk about a long time ago in your life, or in your parents' or
grandparents' lives, when things were different
My great grandfather earned £5 a week,
which was a lot of money in those days.
In the old days there was no bridge over
the river, and we crossed it by boat.
in the good old days
(=at a time when you think that things were better than now)
In the good old days people showed more
respect to the older generation.
in the olden days
: at a time
before you were born, especially hundreds of years ago
The children all wanted to know what life
was like in the olden days.
in the past,
before the present situation existed
The local school was formerly a hospital.
Peru was formerly ruled by the Spanish.