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posted and e-mailed.
However, I see that "used to" outnumbers "useta" by an approximate ratio of 7000:l. Even allowing for some of them ... 15 million to 5 million. I wonder why it's so high... All those copies of song lyrics on the Web?

I see about the same ratio for wanna, with almost 8 million hits.

What's closer is gotta, with 5 million compared to 7 million.

Rich Ulrich, (Email Removed)
http://www.pitt.edu/~wpilib/index.html
I think I'd remember if I'd ever seen "did(n't) + used" in a well-edited British publication.

Your position is unassailable because you can meet any counterexample by saying that a cited source is not well-edited. And "well-edited" is a relative term.

But here goes anyhow: Burchfield's (grossly misnamed) The New Fowler's Modern English Usage , on page 815, quotes "Times" as saying "Prostate cancer ... didn't used to be a problem". There's a little doubt about whether he means Los Angeles Times , New York Times , London Times , or some other "Times", but I would assume he means London Times , given that his publisher is British.
Burchfield also has the relevant remark
The negative/interrogative type Use(d)n't people
to ... is also found, esp. in spoken English
and in informal letters, and arguments rage as
to whether it is 'better' than the type Didn't
people use(d) to ... ?
The "d"s in parens show that Burchfield thinks it doesn't matter whether the spelling is "used" or "use". Actually, the sensible spellings would be "Usedn't people to" and "Didn't people use to". An exception would be if "use" in the "be accustomed" sense were accepted in the present tense, as in "Nowadays people do not use to do that": then "Usen't people to" would be possible. But that tense is for the time being not used.
Conclusion: It's bipondially Dead Wrong.

I wish you were dead right.
Burchfield's remarks suggest that at least a faint heartbeat can be detected in British *"didn't used to".
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Other people in the thread seem to agree that the following is passive: 'I got passed by a big truck'. Would you say that is only because "got" in that case has very little different meaning from "was"?

Interesting example. It sounds slightly unusual to me, and yet "I got hit by..." seems perfectly OK. My first reaction was 'no, this is the "became" meaning of "got" ', but then I started trying to think of passive-like sentences using 'became' and couldn't find anything that sounded natural: maybe "I became naturalised" (ie became a citizen), but there is no obvious agent, so I doubt this qualifies.
Rob Bannister
I suspect the word you're looking for is "aspectual", Mike. I mentioned it in my previous post. "Become" and "remain" both refer to semantic (though not grammatical) aspects, like "start, continue, finish, stop, repeat", and many other aspectual predicates.
By the way, "amused" is probably not the predicate to use, if you want a really clear example of the passive construction, because it's an experiential psych-predicate that takes a different kind of construction without an agent by-phrase, but with a governed preposition:

He's amused at her antics.
This isn't passive because it doesn't describe a past event of amusing, but a present state of amusement. Similar psych-predicates include "offended, astonished, dismayed, pleased, surprised" (all with "at") and "interested (in)", as well as the past participles of most other emotive verbs. The technical term for this phenomenon in the literature is "Psych-movement", which you can Google on to find out more.
-John Lawler www.umich.edu/~jlawler Michigan Linguistics Dept "Alas, there is almost no foolishness that will not be undertaken as A Matter of Principle." Arnold Zwicky
By the way, "amused" is probably not the predicate to use, if you want a really clear example of the ... The technical term for this phenomenon in the literature is "Psych-movement", which you can Google on to find out more.

Isn't this similar to:
"The fields were covered in snow" - not passive
"The body was covered by (the falling) snow" - passive

Rob Bannister
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
(snip)

What on earth does "use to" mean? I know what ... go there", nor what you would mean by either exactly.

No, I don't use "use" in the archaic senses. I was never aware of them until discussions here a few ... question. I used to keep rabbits. Didn't you use to keep snakes? Yes, I used to keep snakes, long ago.

Yes, I know how they work.
Same as: I damaged my car. Didn't you damage your motorcycle, too? Yes, I damaged my motorcycle as well. What "use to" means is the same as what people are now tending to spell as "used to".

And what's that though?
You're not really taking my point, which is that if you have a relic such as "used to", which has shucked off its original meaning and all its other parts, you might as well swallow down hard and accept that it is not in fact a participle that parallels "damaged" but a word in itself.
These mean the same, are pronounced the same, and are merely spelled differently: Didn't you use to keep snakes? Didn't you used to keep snakes? But, we still don't say (yet):

Why would we?
* Didn't you damaged your motorcycle? * Did you wrote to cancel the reservation? * You didn't walked to work. The auxiliary "do/did" takes the infinitive, not the past participle.

Not with "used to", it doesn't.
Hey, feel the wink!
But, you know, verbs (like can and may) that become employed as daily auxiliaries changed their grammar, and so to the extent that "use to/used to" has become an auxiliary to indicate a certain verb sense

The point.
I would expect it develop unusual twists. Personally, I'd like a new spelling or contraction for that altogether:

We can use "used to". Because "to use to" is no longer used, there is absolutely no confusion.
Didn't you useta go there? I useta keep snakes. As opposed to: This tool is used to plant bulbs. However, ... ratio of 7000:l. Even allowing for some of them being the used-for exception, "useta" has a long ways to go.

Well, the desire to have the language in a straitjacket aside, which strikes all of us from time to time, I daresay, I don't see why we can't just allow an exception. It's not really* a past participle, because it has no verb to be a past participle of. It seems to me it's just a construction we use that does not *mean what its constituent parts would logically have it mean it's certainly not alone in that!
"Gonna" will probably achieve respectability first. "Going to"/gonna is a mere 3:1. That's higher than I expected. 15 million to 5 million. I wonder why it's so high... All those copies of song lyrics on the Web?

I don't see why. Other languages have no problem with being spoken very differently from how they're written and English is, as we all know, already far from phonetic.
Zen
Uh oh. The jangling alarm of old, hotly contested dispute. ... they're bigger, but still 0.4:1. The handwriting's on the wall.

If you could run the numbers so as to get counts of UK usage and US usage separately, I would ... guide would be less likely to. Too bad there's not a way to Google separately on UK and US usage.

Well, google.co.uk will let you search webpages from the UK only. It's not scientific, of course, but it gives:
didn't use to 593
didn't used to 2140
I don't think, BTW, that quoting some guy's book, no matter how much a person likes it, makes it "dead wrong" to use a particular construction. If people do actually use it, the guy can go whistle.

The top pick for "didn't used to" is the Hutchinson Encyclopaedia, which says that "didn't use to" is "more widely acceptable", although the figures wouldn't seem to bear this out.
Zen
I don't see why. Other languages have no problem with being spoken very differently from how they're written and English is, as we all know, already far from phonetic.

Just out of curiosity...which languages are you thinking of? Out of the few languages I have slightly more than a just passing intellectual familiarity (does not mean "ability to speak/understand") with, French is about the only language that comes close to matching English in lack of phoneticity.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Well, google.co.uk will let you search webpages from the UK only. It's not scientific, of course, but it gives: didn't use to 593 didn't used to 2140

This should motivate UK educators to ask themselves how they have failed. Somewhere along the line they should have taught their students that "didn't wanted to", "didn't needed to", "didn't had to", and "didn't used to" are not grammatically sound.
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