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Thomas Smith

Joined: November 20, 2012
Comments posted: 7
Votes received: 15

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Questions Submitted

Where used you to live?

November 22, 2012

Recent Comments

"Where did you use to live before you came here?" Is the correct form.

(My source is 'Raymond Murphy' Essential Grammar in Use - Third Edition. Page 82, Section B.)

"Did" being the auxiliary verb it is conjugated and does the work of indicating that we are talking about the past. The verb phrase "use to live" remains in the infinitive.

The answer to the question might be:

"I used to live in Germany."

The verb 'use' now indicated the preterite tense.


Thomas Smith February 4, 2013, 9:09pm

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Nice one, Hairy Scot. I have to teach both forms to my French schoolchildren, because each school can choose which textbook to use. One publisher has dropped 'have got' in favour of 'have', (the edition concerned is for the first year of secondary school - or whatever you call it these days - age 10, let's say) the other has not yet done so - and may not for all I know.

Interestingly, the publisher that has adopted 'have' (I have a pet dog' instead of 'I have got a pet dog') has also decided that 'kids' should go, in favour of 'children'. But that's for another discussion.


However, this shows the way things are going, at least here in France.

Thomas Smith January 11, 2013, 7:17pm

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Joel hi. What you describe here is not grammatically correct. Don't get me wrong, what you are describing is your experience of what you hear in everyday life. What we call colloquial English.
The use of, for example, "He has brown hair and blue eyes." Is used more in American English. In British English you'll hear "He's got brown hair and blue eyes." Of course with the Internet the boundaries between American and British (and other variants of English) is not so clear.
You must be careful when you give an example like "I got a cool hat." Grammatically this is the past tense, meaning, for example, "When I was on holiday, I got a cool hat." Your use of "got" here is colloquial meaning the same as "I have a cool hat." (If I understand you.) There's nothing wrong with colloquial speech, but you need to be clear on your grammatical rules too.
As an English teacher I try to teach a strictly correct grammar, AND at the same time tell students to be prepared to hear many variants when they listen to native speakers.
So to summarize:
"I have brown hair." "I have a cool hat" (more favored in US English) and "I've got brown hair" "I've got a cool hat."(more favored in British English).
As you say, you use "got" to indicate that you obtained something. For example, "I got a cool hat in town yesterday."
But the following two statements are perfectly correct and mean the same thing:
- "I have a birthmark on my left buttock."
- "I've got a birthmark on my left buttock."


Thomas Smith January 10, 2013, 5:31pm

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Sorry but you are wrong.

The reason that you think that it is 'used' is because of the 't' of the word 'to'. The word use is voiced from beginning to end, the IPA transcription is /juːz/ so because the vocal cords are vibrating the / t / tends to become / d /, a voiced alveolar plosive. Hence you think you hear 'used to live'.

Grammatically 'used' is the past simple tense and therefore totally out of place with the auxiliary, which is the word that is conjugated in the past tense in the form of 'did'.


Thomas Smith November 27, 2012, 5:12am

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Thanks Percy. I agree with you that "Where did you live before you came here? " sounds much more natural. However if I drop the "... before you came here?" then 'use to live' is correct - I think. At least I'm sure that I won't teach "Where used you to live?":

So I vote for both 'Where did you live before you came here? "
AND "Where did you use to live?"

Have a nice day (as the Americans say)

Thomas Smith November 25, 2012, 6:55pm

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The leaking pipes were replaced by the plumber.
The leaking pipes were replaced with new ones.
The night staff was relieved by the day staff.
The night staff was replaced with robots.
The plumber replaced the leaking pipes with new ones.
The hospital management committee decided to replace the night staff with robots.

When the voice is passive and an agent (human or not) is active in the scenario then 'by' is the word required. If the voice is active then the agent is the subject. In general one is advised to avoid passive if possible. That way there is always a clear guilty party. Using the passive keeps the identity of the agent hidden. Very useful in the case of litigation ;-)):

The day staff replaced the night staff. (with themselves)
The plumber replaced the leaking pipes. (with new ones)

Thomas Smith November 20, 2012, 9:59pm

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I teach English to French school kids. Up until 2011 the school book that I use, called "Enjoy English", used the form, for example, "I have got two rabbits.", "She has got blue eyes." This is a form we call the Present Perfect, using the auxiliary verb HAVE and the past participle of the verb 'get', which is GOT (in the UK). The 'Enjoy English' books now use the form, for example, "I have two rabbits." and "She has blue eyes." this is the Present Simple tense. So somebody 'up there' has decided that it is more modern to use the simple form. So now I have to teach both:
"She has two rabbits." "Does she have two rabbits?" "She doesn't have two rabbits."
"She has got two rabbits." "Has she got two rabbits?" "She hasn't got two rabbits."
Please note that as soon as you move the time-line into the future or the past the problem is solved, GOT disappears, as follows:
"She had two rabbits." "Did she have two rabbits?" "She didn't have two rabbits."
You can't use GOT. You would need to select the past participle of another verb, for example, OBTAINED, BOUGHT, STOLEN, etc. And then you would be using the tense called the PAST PERFECT or PLUPERFECT. The PERFECT tenses (present perfect and past/pluperfect) have a special use in that they link an event to the IMMEDIATE PAST, meaning that it has direct consequence on the present. Note that they always use a form of the auxiliary HAVE plus a PAST PARTICIPLE. For example:
"I have just bought a new car. It's parked outside. You gotta come for a spin in it, now!"
"I have broken my glasses. I can't drive until I get them fixed."
"I have never been to Spain." (meaning up until now, so maybe I'm thinking of going there next year.)
Let's go back to GOT for a moment. The American past participle is GOTTEN, so one could say "I have just gotten myself a car. Come for a spin it it!" ; "I've just gotten two rabbits. Come round and see them, they're so cute."

That's the way the HAVE form is going for French school children anyway. So I'd better get back to preparing my English lesson for today. I have got to explain the difference between 'I have...' and 'I've got...'. Oops! There's another form where I can use 'I have to explain...' instead of 'I've got to explain...'.

Have fun!

Thomas Smith November 20, 2012, 8:35pm

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