Life used to be different

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  • B1
  • General

Grammar - used to

used to


This lesson plan deals with the grammatical structure of ‘used to’. Students will discover how to use the structure, go back to their school days and watch a video presenting what education looked like in the past and what it looks like now.

B1 / Intermediate60 minStandard LessonPremium Plan


First, as a warm-up task, students discuss two questions about their school years. Next, they move to the grammar point. They have to read the sentences (all of them with ‘used to’) and answer the questions which will help them understand how the structure is used and built. To practise, in the next task they have to find and correct mistakes in the given sentences. In the last exercise on the structure, students change the sentences the second exercise so that they are true for them.


Before watching the video, students get some vocab to learn. They need to read some questions and match the underlined words to their meanings. Then, they need to discuss these questions (e.g. in pairs). The video comprehension task is a true/false task. Students watch the video, do the task, change false sentences so that they are true. All of the sentences includes the structure of ‘used to’. Finally, students discuss changes in education in their countries.


To practise the structure in speaking, students need to talk about the past and the present. They get sets of images which should inspire them to discuss different aspects of life in the past and the present (such as technology, lifestyle, etc.). Obviously, they should use the structure of ‘used to’ where possible.
While we didn’t include this in the lesson, you could also ask students to compare some recent changes, e.g. life before and after the pandemic. If you don’t want it to be too dreadful, you can find some funny videos on YouTube showing life before and after COVID19.



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  1. BESSY

    Hello, am I missing something or do we need to pay now in order to obtain most new content? Thanks!


    1. Stan

      Well, that’s true but it has worked like that for the past year so that’s not a new thing. Now, we usually publish 1 free lesson plan each month (pdfs) other 4-5 lessons for subscribers (pdf e-lesson plan). You can see all the free lesson plans at


  2. Corinne

    The sentence you wrote is not correct.

    Correct: “In the past, classrooms used to contain more students than they do now.

    More natural to say is:

    “Classrooms used to contain more students than they do now”

    Because “used to” is used to talk about the past, using “in the past” is redundant and not necessary.


    1. Justa

      Hi Corinne! Actually, I don’t agree with your statetment that the sentence is incorrect and I doubt is unnatural. The phrase might seem redundant with ‘used to’, but it’s often used and probably it’s just a matter of stylistics. For reference, see these search results:
      We can also find such examples in Coca and BNC.


  3. Corinne


    When I wrote “the sentence you wrote is not correct”, I was referring to the OP and the sentence he had used. I hadn’t seen that Stan had already responded to him.

    I am fully aware of what is correct and is not correct.

    In everyday colloquial language, it is more natural to drop the redundancies.


    1. Justa

      Oh, I’m sorry for that, the comment appeared in the wrong place and I misunderstood it apparently.



    its a very short lesson I really had to pad it out for the 60 mins this is a 30-45 min lesson at maximum


    1. Justa

      Thank you for your feedback!


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