Tom Wier wrote: [log in to unmask] wrote: > > >But then again, it's very > >> hard to distinguish between "didn't used to" and "didn't USE to," which >I > >> would assume to be the correct form. The only real way to tell is if >they're > >> speaking very carefully or slowly. >I think that's the main problem. You could say with just as much probability >that what would normally be a /z/ in <use> assimilates in voicing to the >voicelessness of the following /t/, so that <used to> and <use to> become >homophones, at least in the context of this habitualizing helping verb (not >as in e.g. "that's a tool you use to dig with"). Personally, I feel that <used to> >no longer really operates as a helping verb plus <to>, but rather has been >grammaticalized, for most people, to a simple <usta> /ju:[log in to unmask] Something >similar has happened in my speech, whereby I would normally say "could'na" >for "could not have": /ai kUdn@ gAn/ = "I could not have gone". For myself, I might write "I didn't used to," but I would say "I didn't use to." I simply can't pronounce that d without great difficulty and then only by putting a significant pause between used and to. Tom, what you're describing is not unique to you. I know a lot of people who say "could'n 'av" and "could 'av" for "could not have" and "could have" to the point where I've seen people write "couldn't of" and "could of" because they're deceived by how it sounds.