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Is there any difference in meaning between:

"I have smoked in the past, but I don't smoke now" and

"I used to smoke but I don't smoke now"?

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  • 2
    I think you know the difference. One goes to ongoingness of the action and the other is merely in the past without specifying when.
    – Lambie
    Feb 22 at 20:17
  • 2
    What do you mean by "ongoingness of the action?" In both cases I don't smoke anymore.
    – anouk
    Feb 22 at 20:24
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    'I used to smoke' means you habitually or regularly smoked (did it on an ongoing basis); 'I have smoked' says nothing about how many times you did it. Feb 22 at 20:39
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    Here in the States, I see no difference between the two. I see both statements as indicating continuous action in the past. Over here, one doesn't say they have smoked if you smoke once or twice. Feb 22 at 20:57
  • 4
    In the UK 'I have smoked pot', could mean 'I took a puff on a joint at a party in 1972, and never again', but 'I used to smoke pot' could mean 'I don't remember much about the eighties'. I do not know to which category Bill Clinton belongs. Feb 22 at 21:29
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I have smoked in the past, but I don't smoke now - it suggests that I have smoked on a few occasions in the past but I don't smoke now

I used to smoke but I don't smoke now - It leans more towards the meaning that I used to smoke on a regular basis but I don't smoke now.Just a slight difference

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From my understanding they contradict each other in terms of telling the reader when and how many.

They are very much alike and seen to have the same meaning but I break things down like this:

As if answering a question "Do you smoke?"

I used to smoke. Now I do not. add words to see if it is correct. I used to smoke[A few here and there]. Now I do not.

As if you are answering a question. "Are you a smoker?" I have smoked in the past. Now I do not. I have smoked [A few here and there] in the past. Now I do not.

In both cases, you do not smoke anymore but... One is saying you smoked often, One is saying you didn't smoke a specific amount

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  • Are you a native speaker, Monica? I don't understand your answer, What do you mean by: "they contradict eachother"? Because your definitions are exactly the same: "I used to smoke a few here and there, now I do not" and "I have smoked a few here and there, now I do not". What is the difference?
    – anouk
    Feb 24 at 7:57

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