1

Is the sentence below acceptable.

If yes, why does it sound so weird?

If not, why? And what's the correct version? If there is a correct version which is not this, it can't express exactly this.

When I used to go to the river, I used to swim.

4
  • This can be written in better ways, like "When(ever) I went to the river, I used to swim." It is a matter of style. In terms of grammar, it could be acceptable, but that doesn't mean that one can make a sentence like, "When I used to go to the river, and when others used to watch me, I used to swim, and thus used to skip their eyes." Won't it be funny?
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 16:48
  • You're right, it is funny. But 'when I went' means that I am talking about one single time when I went, no?
    – user98919
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 16:58
  • Thought Co.'s examples include this, "I practiced every day, and if I couldn't find a buddy to play with I'd throw the ball against the barn wall and catch it." (Devon Mihesuah, The Lightning Shrikes. Lyons Press, 2004). Hope it clarifies.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 1:58
  • Your question still needs help for: it can't express exactly this. That entire sentence could be redone by you.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 14:31

2 Answers 2

1

It may get repetitive to say "used to" many times. That isn't necessarily incorrect, but it sounds awkward. Here are some alternatives:

I used to go to the river and swim.

I used to go to the river, and would swim a lot.

When I used to go to the river, I would swim and play for hours.

When I used to go to the river, I would swim, and run, and have a picnic.

1
  • learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/…; You make a point, but used to do/ would do and sometimes 'simple past verbs' can refer to past habitual actions. That way, repetition happens here too. This link supports this view.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 1:54
0

The "used to" construction suggests repeated action in the past, probably not continuing in the present. It's not clear how the two instance in your sentence are coupled.

You might mean

In the past I went to the river (often). When I did I swam.

or

In the past I went to the river (often). When I did I usually (but perhaps not always) swam. Then I continued going to the river but didn't swim.

or perhaps just

In the past I went to the river to swim.

or

I used to go to the river to swim.

The last two suggest that you still swim now, but somewhere else.

So I think your double use of "used to" is both awkward (as you note) and ambiguous. Try saying what you mean in another way.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .