Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 5: 21/21

used to

Verb[た]+ もの
Verb[た]+ ものです
Register Standard
使用域 一般
As mentioned the the ものだ lesson, the combination of the 名詞(めいし) 物(もの) ‘thing’, with the 助動詞(じょどうし) (auxiliary verb) だ forms a strong determination about whatever comes before it as being ‘the way it is’. As an extension of this nuance, ものだ can be paired with verbs in the past tense, creating a phrase similar to ‘I used to (A) in the past’. However, the literal meaning is closer to ‘(A) was the way it used to be’.
  • 子供(こども)の頃(ころ)はよく先生(せんせい)怒(おこ)られたものだ
    I used to get yelled at by the teacher often when I was still a kid.
  • 昔(むかし)はよく親父(おやじ)釣(つ)りに行(い)ったものだ
    I used to go fishing with my father in the past.
  • 若(わか)い頃(ころ)は色々(いろいろ)苦労(くろう)したものだ
    When I was young, I used to suffer a lot.
Due to ものだ being a strong determination of something's existence/truth, this expression quite often carries the nuance that the speaker is nostalgic about (A), reminiscing about (A), or being introspective about (A). This means that it will not sound natural when describing things that are seemingly inconsequential, or have no meaningful significance.
  • 小学生(しょうがくせい)の頃(ころ)は毎日(まいにち)学校(がっこう)に行(い)ったものだ
    I used to go to school everyday when I was an elementary student. (Unnatural, as this is a normal event)
  • 昔(むかし)は毎日(まいにち)のように親父(おやじ)けんかたものだ
    In the past I fought with my father everyday. (Natural, as this is a meaningful event)
When highlighting things in the past that are not particularly important, たことがある will be used instead.
  • 多分(たぶん)子供(こども)の頃(ころ)食(た)べたことがある
    I may have eaten this when I was a kid. (Unimportant)
  • 子供(こども)の頃(ころ)はよ、神社(じんじゃ)遊(あそ)んだ事(こと)がある
    When I was a kid, I played at the shrine a lot. (Potentially important, but not in this speaker’s opinion)
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I used to go swimming in the ocean a lot when I was a child.
A long time ago, I often used to go out and take long drives.
遠く is actually a noun・の adjective!
When I was a child, I used to nod off a lot in the middle of class.
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[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
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