[Grammar] “Used To Be” VS. “Was”

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Today we are going to talk about the usages and differences about “used to be” and “was”!

Used to be” and “was” both describe the past of something or somebody.

However, when they are put into the same sentence, the meaning of them would be different and we should pay attention to that if we want to express our meaning correctly.

1. Describe the past

Used to be” and “was” can describe the past, compared to “is“.

  • The school is our playground. (It still is our playground at the moment)
  • The school was our playground. (It was our playground at the past)
  • The school used to be our playground. (It was our playground at the past, but it is not now)

2. Meaning is different

Used to be” is about something that was the case, recently or a long time ago, but no longer is and no longer can be! “Was” is simply about anything of the past. Briefly speaking, “Used to be” tends to stress the meaning of “not now“. It is the combination of “was” and “but not now“.

  • I used to teach French.
    (I teach French in the past, but for sure, these days I do not teach French.)
  • I was in the act of teaching French, when suddenly a person knocked at my door.
    (It just shows an action that was in progress in the past but was interrupted.)



#1. I _________ like playing basketball, but now I am not. I enjoy playing football now.

#2. The school _________ there, but now it moves to another place.

#3. The office building on that corner is where the threatre used to be until it ___________ demolished



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