Common Errors in English Usage: Utilize (vt), Use (vi/vt)

Here is a worksheet on using the verbs utilize and use. Utilize is used only transitively, so don’t forget your direct object. Use is also transitive, but has a two intransitive uses. The first is a very common locution in the English language: we call upon the verb use in the past tense, i.e. used, which we join with the preposition to so that we can “indicate a former fact or state,” as in “We used to go out more often” and “He didn’t use to smoke.” The second intransitive purpose for use is “to take illicit drugs regularly.” (Maybe you won’t want to point that out, however.)

Put another way, the first sense of the intransitive exercise of use can best be demonstrated by the title of the blues standard first recorded by Eddie Jones, aka Guitar Slim, “The Things That I Used to Do.” Did you know that the young Ray Charles produced and arranged the recording session that produced this great song? Neither did I until I sat down and wrote this post. For the record, (so to speak), the song was recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Recording Studio on Rampart Street in New Orleans. It was issued by the legendary Los Angeles R&B record label Specialty on October 16, 1953.

What we’re really talking about when the subjects of Cosimo Matassa, Ray Charles, Guitar Slim and Specialty Records arise are the beginnings of rock and roll. But that is another story.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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