How to Use "Habit" in a Sentence

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  • Habit noun/verb: things that usually happen.
    • countable noun : odd habits
    • uncountable noun : a drug habit
    • My sister has a bad habit of always leaving the light on.


  • Adjective + habit: life has a ………… (bad/ annoying/…)  habit of repeating itself.
    • good/bad
    • annoying
    • anti-social
    • dirty
    • horrible
    • irritating
    • nasty
    • unfortunate
    • personal
    • regular
    • eating/drinking habits (=the kinds of things you eat or drink regularly)
    • buying/spending habits (=the kinds of things you buy regularly)
    • viewing habits (=the kind of television shows you regularly watch)
    • social habits



  • Verb + habit
    • become a habit : Don’t let eating between meals become a habit
    • get into/in the habit (of doing something) (=start doing something regularly)
    • My brother was in a habit of listening to the music loudly.
    • get out of the habit (of doing something) (=stop doing something regularly)
    • I just get up early out of habit.


  • Preposition  + habit
    • out of habit: she sat in her old seat purely out of habit.
    • by habit: much of what we do in daily life is done by habit.


  • Idioms:
    • My grandfather was not able to………… ( break the habit) of snoring.
    • Break a habit (=stop doing something which is bad for you)
    • Kick a habit
    • Knock the habit
    • Shake the habit


Grammar Focus:

There are several ways of talking about bad habits that happened in the past. These include the simple past, the past progressive, and the phrase used to.

  • Simple past:
    • We use the simple past to talk about an action which happened and finished in the past. There is a space between the time when the action happened, and the time when you are speaking or writing about it.
    • He tried to kick the smoking habit many years ago.
  • The Past Progressive:
    • We  make the past progressive by using was or were, followed by the main verb with an ‑ing ending, for example I was studying.
    • The past progressive is used in the following ways:
    1. We use the past progressive when you want to talk about something that happened in the past, and continued to happen for only a limited period of time.
      • He was smoking at that time.
    2. We use the past progressive to talk about something which continued to happen for a period of time, during which another thing happened.
      • He was smoking TV when the phone rang.
  • used to:
    • We use used to when you want to say that something happened in the past over a period of time, but it no longer happens now. It is found only in the past tense. You use used to with the basic form of the main verb, for example used to smoke, used to live, used to be.
    • She used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day.


Author: Nooshin Ashrafi


  • References:
    • Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
    • Oxford Collocations Dictionary for students of English
    • Oxford Collocations Dictionary
    • McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms
    • Gerry's vocabulary teacher

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