Is it okay to use 'used to' with adverbs like always / never / often / sometimes?
E.g.: "I always / never / often / sometimes used to go to the cinema."

I have seen all of the adverbs + 'used to' and I guess that 'always' and 'never' might be possible if you want to put some more emphasis on 'used to'. But is that really necessary?
I am absolutely puzzled as to 'sometimes' + 'used to' because (as far as I know) 'used to' expresses some kind of regularity or habit while 'sometimes' doesn't.
Would you say always / never / often / sometimes + 'used to' is correct standard English? Or would you say that this is rather colloquial and should be avoided. I would appreciate your help very much.

Regards,
Heike

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Is it okay to use 'used to' with adverbs like always / never / often / sometimes? E.g.: "I always / never / often / sometimes used to go to the cinema."

Yes, it's fine.
I have seen all of the adverbs + 'used to' and I guess that 'always' and 'never' might be possible if you want to put some more emphasis on 'used to'. But is that really necessary?

Yep, both are common:
"I always used to watch snooker on Friday nights...% "I never used to like cheese, but now I do..."
I am absolutely puzzled as to 'sometimes' + 'used to' because (as far as I know) 'used to' expresses some kind of regularity or habit while 'sometimes' doesn't.

I suppose it was a regular habit, although it happened rarely. Perfectly accepatable
"We sometimes used to (or "we used to sometimes" or "sometimes we used to" go to the pub after work".
Would you say always / never / often / sometimes + 'used to' is correct standard English? Or would you say that this is rather colloquial and should be avoided. I would appreciate your help very much.

I would say it's fine and I'd use it in both speech and writing.

Cheers
DCC
Would you say always / never / often / sometimes ... should be avoided. I would appreciate your help very much.

I would say it's fine and I'd use it in both speech and writing.

I wouldn't use it in formal writing.

Mike Nitabach
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I would say it's fine and I'd use it in both speech and writing.

I wouldn't use it in formal writing.

Hmm... isn't that true of 'used to' generally?
DC
Django Cat wrote on 02 May 2004:
I wouldn't use it in formal writing.

Hmm... isn't that true of 'used to' generally?

Not if one is writing about one's own or someone else's habits, eg "He used to smoke 30 unfiltered cigarettes a day". How else would you want to say it? One could use the simple past, I suppose "He smoked 30 unfiltered cigarettes a day from age 17 to 35" but this gives a different feeling.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
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I am absolutely puzzled as to 'sometimes' + 'used to' because (as far as I know) 'used to' expresses some kind of regularity or habit while 'sometimes' doesn't.

You would agree that it's OK to say, "I sometimes go to the cinema."

My habits have changed, and now I never go to the cinema. Consequently, "I sometimes used to go to the cinema." That is infelicitously phrased. Some better (not much better) alternatives:
I used to go to the cinema sometimes.
I used to go to the cinema occasionally.
I used to sometimes go to the cinema.
Would you say always / never / often / sometimes + 'used to' is correct standard English? Or would you say that this is rather colloquial and should be avoided. I would appreciate your help very much.

It's OK but I would try to state the thought another way.

John Varela
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Django Cat wrote on 02 May 2004:

Hmm... isn't that true of 'used to' generally?

Not if one is writing about one's own or someone else's habits, eg "He used to smoke 30 unfiltered cigarettes ... "He smoked 30 unfiltered cigarettes a day from age 17 to 35" but this gives a different feeling.

I might go with 'was in the habit of smoking ...' if I wanted to be more formal. I don't think I'd write a letter of complaint to the bank saying 'I used to hold one of your credit cards' - I think I'd prefer 'previously held' there.
DC
Not if one is writing about one's own or someone ... 17 to 35" but this gives a different feeling.

I might go with 'was in the habit of smoking ...' if I wanted to be more formal. I don't ... the bank saying 'I used to hold one of your credit cards' - I think I'd prefer 'previously held' there.

I know that I'm spinning off on a tangent here, but I usually don't hold credit cards. I have them usually in my wallet. Holding them gets too tiresome.
Could this be a pondian thing?

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
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Is it okay to use 'used to' with adverbs like always / never / often / sometimes? E.g.: "I always ... 'never' might be possible if you want to put some more emphasis on 'used to'. But is that really necessary?

There's definitely a difference between 'used to', 'always used to' and 'never used to'. I wouldn't've thought it needed much explaining.
I am absolutely puzzled as to 'sometimes' + 'used to' because (as far as I know) 'used to' expresses some kind of regularity or habit while 'sometimes' doesn't.

As far as I can work out, "sometimes used to go" is the same as "sometimes went". It's reasonably common with with discrete-activity verbs - but, for instance, "I sometimes used to like the Beatles" sounds a bit odd, even though both "I used to like the Beatles" and "I sometimes like the Beatles" are both fine.
Dylan
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