I came across this video on Instagram where a teacher says this sentence is wrong:

When I was a kid, I went to the gym every day.

and must be replaced by:

When I was a kid, I used to go to the gym every day.

I know when we use 'used to', but I don't understand why it's supposed to be wrong to use the simple past tense in that sentence. Can't we use the tense to talk about our routine in the past?

Do we use the simple past tense only to talk about an action that happened only once and finished as in:

I went to the gym last evening.

  • 1
    The 'teacher' is wrong. That is a perfectly acceptable sentence. Commented Mar 8 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


Simple past: Good for mentioning past actions or habits, but doesn't highlight how often they happened or if they're still true now. Used to: Focuses on repeated actions in the past that are no longer true now.

Here's another way to say it, breaking it down further:

Simple past is like a timeline: It tells you something happened in the past, but it doesn't say how often or if it's still happening. "Used to" is like a faded memory: It describes something that was a regular part of the past, but it's not anymore.

  • 1
    But if 'every day' is added, of course we know how often it happened! Commented Mar 8 at 11:14
  • 1
    You're right. If it's added.
    – Ali E
    Commented Mar 8 at 13:17

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