Used to

You will study the expression Used to.


Used to

Alcohol prohibition in the US

Instructions: Read the text. Look at the underlined words.

Prohibition in the United States used to be a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933. It was promoted by the “dry” crusaders, a movement led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Prohibition, Democratic, and Republican parties. It gained a national grass roots base through the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. After 1900 it used to be coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League. Prohibition was mandated in state after state, then finally nationwide under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. Enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, set down the rules for enforcing the ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. For example, religious uses of wine were allowed. Private ownership and consumption of alcohol were not made ilegal under federal law; however, in many areas, local laws used to be stricter, with some states banning possession outright. In the 1920´s the laws were widely disregarded, and tax revenues were lost. Their opposition mobilized and nationwide prohibition ended with the ratificaction of the Twenty-First Amenment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, on December 5, 1933. Some states continued statewide prohibition.

Prohibition in the United Stated. Retrieved and adapted January, 2017 from

Getting started: Prohibition supporters and anti-prohibitionists

Instructions: Read the following information about the US:

Prohibition supporters, called Drys presented Prohibition as a moral victory. Anti-prohibitionists, known as wets, criticized the alcohol ban as an intrusion of mainly rural Protestant ideals on a central aspect of urban, immigrant, and Catholic life. Although popular opinion believed that Prohibition failed, it succeeded in cutting overall alcohol consumption in half during the 1920s, and consumption remained below pre-Prohibition levels until de 1940s, suggesting that Prohibition did socialize a significant proportion of the population in temperate habits, at least temporarily. Some researches contended that its political failure was attributable more to a changing historical context than to characteristics of the law itself. Criticism remained that Prohibition led to unintended consequences such as the growth of urban crime organizations and a century of Prohibition-influences legislation. As an experiment it lost supporters evey year, and lost tax revenue that governments needed when the Great Depression began in 1929.

Prohibition in the United Stated. Retrieved and adapted January, 2017 from

Drys and wets

Instructions: Choose True (T) of False for the following statements.

Prohibition supporters used to be called wets.

Anti-prohibitionists used to be named drys.

Drys used to present Prohibition as a moral victory.

Wets used to consider Prohibition as an intrusion.

Some researchers used to say Prohibition failure was caused by the Great Depression in 1929.

Let’s study the expression Used to.

Instructions: Read the information about the expression Used to.

The expression “Used to” refers to the idea that something was a habit that stopped in the past. It indicates that something was often repeated in the past, but is not usually done in the present.


  • Jane used to study Physics.
  • We used to go to the beach in the summer.
  • I used to start classes at 7 o’clock.
  • My daughter used to eat meat, but now she is a vegetarian.


“Used to” also refers to past facts or generalizations which are no longer true.


  • Michael used to live in Canada.
  • Emma used to be fat, but now she is thin.
  • George used to be a bad student, but now he is the best in the class.
  • I used to play basketball, but not anymore.

Both Simple Past and “Used to” can be used to describe past habits, past facts and past generalizations. However, “used to” is preferred when emphasizing these forms of past repetition in positive sentences. On the other hand, when asking questions or making negative sentences, Simple Past is preferred.

Example: I used to play the piano. ( + )

  • Did you play the piano when you were in high school? ( ? )
  • I did not play the piano when I was in high school.


Nevertheless, it is possible to make questions and negative statements. Look at the following chart:

 subjectauxiliary didnotmain verb useinfinitive
+I  usedto walk every day.
-Ididn'tuseto walk every day.
?Didyou useto walk every day.



Instructions: Make sentences with the following prompts and used to:

  1. Prohibition / be / successful in reducing the amount of liquor consumed. .
  2. Prohibition / stimulate / the proliferation of rampant underground, organized and widespread criminal activity. .
  3. Prohibition / lose / its advocates one by one. .
  4. The wet opposition / talk / of personal liberty. .
  5. The United States federal law / prohibit / the manufacture of distilled spirits without meeting numerous licensing requirements. .
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Abuse of alcohol

Instructions: Make logical sentences with the following words:

of alcoholused toInformal socialthat the abusesaywas unacceptable
Drunkenesscondemnedused to beand punished
used toa personal indiscretionExcessbe considered
Before Prohibition,in moderationbelieveused topeople
refrainWomenof alcoholused tofrom consumption
Womenthe moralof their householdsused to be consideredauthorities
used toAmericans1.7 bottlesconsumeper weekof hard liquor


Prohibition and medical professionals

Instructions: Choose the right options in the following text.

Prohibition became highly controversial among medical professionals, because alcohol used to be highly prescribe / prescribed by the era's physicians for therapeutic purposes. Congress held hearings on the medicinal value of beer in 1921. Subsequently, physicians across the country used to / use to lobby for the repeal of Prohibition as it applied to medicinal liquors. From 1921 to 1930, doctors used to earn / earned about $40 million for whiskey prescriptions.

While the manufacture, importation, sale, and transport of alcohol use to / used to be illegal in the United States, Section 29 of the Volstead Act allowed wine and cider to be made from fruit at home, but not beer. Up to 200 gallons of wine and cider per year could be made, and some vineyards used to grew / grow grapes for home use. The Act did not prohibit consumption of alcohol. Many people stockpiled wines and liquors for their personal use in the latter part of 1919 before sales of alcoholic beverages became illegal in January 1920.

Since alcohol used to / use to be legal in neighboring countries, distilleries and breweries in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean flourished as their products were either consumed by visiting Americans or smuggled into the United States illegally. The Detroit River, which forms part of the U.S. border with Canada, use to / used to be notoriously difficult to control, especially rum-running in Windsor, Canada. When the U.S. government complained to the British that American law was being undermined by officials in Nassau, Bahamas, the head of the British Colonial Office refused to intervene. Winston Churchill believed that Prohibition was "an affront to the whole history of mankind".

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