I spend a good chunk of time writing. Often, the writing I’m doing is for other people. And there are a few devices I lean on a lot. One of these devices is conversational language. Ironically, it doesn’t come naturally to me. My academic training is forever edging me towards the cliff face of formal and arcane language. But I resist.
One phrase that often catches me up when I try to write it is this: “used to”.
In conversation, we say things like, “we used to have to walk to school ten miles,” or “it used to be that the sun shone more often”, “get used to it”, etc. It’s a past tense thing but it’s also a state of affairs thing. But whenever I look at it in print, I trip over it. It doesn’t read well to me. But maybe it’s just me?