"Used to have" or "had"? - When I was a teacher I used to have a lot of students. Why not "I had a lot of students"?
Jul 28, 2019 3:37 PM
Answers · 3
There is a difference in meaning. 1 - "I had" is the simple past of "to have". It refers to a specific moment in the past. 2 - "I used to have" is the (pseudo) modal "to use to (do)". It compares a moment in the past with the present. It describes a situation that is no longer true. I recommend English Grammar in Use by Murphy. Unit 18. A paper edition is cheap and there is a PDF available on the net.
July 28, 2019
Both work grammatically. ‘Used to’ gives a bit more sense of ongoing or habitual action in the past. It also implies you don’t do it / have it any more. When I was child I used to eat a lot of sweets, (but now I am grown up I don’t eat so many). Good explanation here
July 28, 2019
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