I am litle bit confused over usage of the sentence mentioned below.

"I used to be waiting for train when i was in my graduate school".

Is it idiomatic?

  • I've answered, but this kind of question is not good. You don't tell us why you are confused. What is your specific problem?
    – James K
    Mar 3, 2021 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


Not idiomatic at all. "Used to" is used for past habits. It is idiomatic to say

I used to take the train when I was in my graduate school.

This would suggest that every day you went to school by train. (but now you don't)

Now your example is odd.

The combination of "used to" and the continuous "be waiting" is grammatically correct, but usually not used. I suppose it could be used to indicate that the activity was a repeated activity (I am jumping) that was done habitually "I used to be jumping". Or indicate that the activity was a temporary ("I am living in..") that was (paradoxically) done for an extended period of time ("I used to be living in France"). These don't apply to "be waiting for the train".

You should use "I used to wait"

Also Waiting for a train is not the purpose of going to the station. It is not something you do, it is something that you have to do, so it would be better to say

I used to have to wait for the train when I was in my graduate school.

This is still odd, since it suggests that now you don't have to wait for the train (but trains don't come especially early for people with post graduate degrees!)

Here is how you could use it in context.

When I was in graduate school I used to have to wait several hours for the train. The line from Tundla to Jumna Bridge had only one train a day, and you never knew exactly when it would arrive. This gave me lots of time to think, and used to write poetry while I was waiting.

  • Although "in my graduate school" sounds wrong to this US native, as though the speaker owns the school.
    – stangdon
    Mar 3, 2021 at 12:31
  • Actually I don't mind that, although I note that when rewriting the example, I instinctively removed "my".
    – James K
    Mar 3, 2021 at 20:35

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