On Thu, Feb 05, 2009 at 11:30:46AM -0500, Aaron W. Hsu wrote:
> In this particular case, I say that the use of 'use' in any form is
> simply redundant and bothersomely cumbersome. We already have a past
> tense 'did' here, so why not just say:
> Why did www.openbsd.org run on Solaris?
> I think this is cleaner, snappier, and better overall.
it would, however, change the meaning of the sentence. your phrasing
is a bit like asking "why did it happen?". we would tend to use
that for single incidents. like if yesterday your friend shot you
in the foot, you might ask why he shot you in the foot. but "used
to" is a very neat way of asking about habit (like smoking) or a
(semi-)permanent state (like running solaris). so if you had a
friend who shot you in the foot every day for a year, you might ask
(rightly!) why he used to shoot you in the foot.
so the form you suggest would not be an improvement.