And the Tribune was a nickel!

  • Money used to make us richer is gone in the end, but money used for this cause has an enduring power. Money used to buy possessions — which we often watch depreciate — can instead be used to change lives over the long term.

I used to think things were simple.

“Used to” is a tricky little phrase in American English.

When I read “Money used to make us richer,” I think I’m about to read something clever about how money no longer makes us richer.

But no. The phrase used to can go two ways.

The paragraph in question confuses me not just once but twice. The second sentence starts out Money used to buy possessions — but it’s not talking about something that happened in the good ol’ days. Turns out, it’s talking about Money which is used to buy possessions.

Both sentences are technically correct — but accidentally confusing.

(And yes, money did make us richer in the good ol’ days. Remember penny candy? No? Well, enjoy your youth. I’d kill to be your age.)


One thought on “And the Tribune was a nickel!

  1. I had to read that first sentence three times before I got it. In my dialect, which has its roots in Gloucester, the two uses of “used to” are pronounced a little differently. For “used to” meaning something occurring in the past, the words are often run on with a harder d for used, “useto,” while for the other meaning the words are separate with a softer d–used to.


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