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C9. Career choicesCartoon illustration 

used to


There are lots of jokes in English about jobs that someone used to do. They are usually based on bad puns. Can you see the double meanings in these jokes?

I used to work in a bank, but I lost interest.
I used to work as an archaeologist, but my career was in ruins.
I used to be a hotel receptionist, but then I had reservations.
I used to be a doctor, but then I lost patience.
I used to work at an orange juice factory, but I couldn't concentrate.
I used to be a history teacher, but there was no future in it.
I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.
I used to sell computer parts, but then I lost my drive.
I used to be a transplant surgeon, but my heart just wasn't in it.
I used to work in a glue factory, but couldn't stick with it.
I used to work in a gym, but I wasn't fit for the job.
I used to work as electrician, but the pay was shocking.

Grammar: used to

To talk about actions that often happened in the past you can use this form: used / didn't use + infinitive.
I used to suck my thumb when I was a baby.

You can also use this form for activities that happened over a long period of time in the past
I used to live with my parents but now I have my own apartment.

Make sentences with used to / didn't use to /did... use to

Example: you / live in London [ ? ] Did you use to live in London?
1.   Camilla / wear glasses [ ? ]    
2.   They  / live in the city     [ - ]
3.   She / go to work by bus [ + ]
4.   I / have long hair [ + ]    
5.   We / have a computer at home [ - ]
6.   He / smoke fifty a day. [ + ]
7.   Where / you / go to school [ ? ]

Choose the grammatically correct sentence.

   8    A.   Did you used to go to school by bus? B.   Did you use to go to school by bus?
   9    A.   I used to smoke but I don't any more. B.   I used to smoke but any more I don't.
   10   A.   I didn't used to like tomatoes when I was a child. B.    didn't use to like tomatoes when I was a child.
   11   A.   I never used to use my bike so I sold it. B.   I didn't never use to use my bike so I sold it.
   12  A.   Who was the tall girl you used to like? B.   Who was the tall girl you use to like?
   13  A.   They used to going on holiday in Spain a few years ago. B.   They used to go on holiday in Spain a few years ago.
   14  A.  You usen't to drink coffee. B.   You didn't use to drink coffee.


Vocabulary exercises

Need some help with the double meanings? Match the words with the definitions.

   1.   interest A.   the ability to wait without become angry or upset
   2.   to lose interest B.   to increase the strength by taking out water
   3.   patience C.   an arrangement where something is booked
   4.  patients D.   the money paid for the use of money lent to someone
   5.   a reservation E.   I can't tolerate it
   6.   to have reservations about F.   to become bored with something
   7.   to concentrate a liquid G.   to focus all your attention on something
   8.   to concentrate on something H.   I've lost my desire to do it
   9.   You've lost your drive I.    You've lost your motivation and energy.
   10. a computer drive J.   the part of a computer which stores information
   11. My heart isn't in it K.   people who need medical treatment
   12. I can't stick it. L.  to be unsure whether something is a good idea or not

ANSWERS