I understand how the phrase "used to" can describe something that was done in the past:
When I was growing up, my parents used to read to me at bedtime.
My dad used to take the family out for ice cream on Sundays in the summertime.
Although these sound fine in conversation, when I see this construct in writing, I often find the word "used" tripping me up. When I'm proofreading my own work, I find myself expecting "used" to be the past tense of the verb use (meaning, "to wield or to utilize"). In other words, when I initially read the word "used," my brain is expecting the word to be used differently – something like:
When I was growing up, my parents used... (a pair of pliers to open pickle jars).
My dad used... (his old t-shirts to wax the car).
So, I'll sometimes reword the original, to eliminate the "used to":
When I was growing up, my parents would read to me at bedtime.
My dad took the family out for ice cream on Sundays in the summertime.
I realize that the construct is plenty common; when I type
"my parents use" into Google – both in a web search, and a book search – I find more instances of:
my parents used [to do something]
my parents used [something].
So, my questions:
Is it worthwhile to make such edits? Might others occasionally stumble momentarily as they run across the word used used in that context while reading? (Or maybe that's just me?)
Finally, is there a reason why (or a context where):
My brother used to loan money to his friends.
would be considered better than:
My brother would often loan money to his friends.
I'd be especially interested in answers from both native and non-native speakers of English.