Understanding Used to
Learn the differences between used to, to be used to, to get used to, and usually.
Never confuse them again! Here is a concise and easy way to remember which form to use.
Understanding USED TO - Past
- Used to refers to past habits we no longer do/have.
Structure: used to + infinitive
Ex. - I used to play with Barbie dolls.- In the past, this was a habit but it's not now.
Understanding TO BE USED TO - Present
- To be used to refers to something you are accustomed to doing. It’s something that may have been a bit challenging at the beginning, but now, is a normal activity or reaction for you.
Structure: to be used to + gerund
Example: I am used to getting up at 5 am. - Now I find this easy, but at the beginning it was difficult.
- To get used to refers to the process of becoming used to something. Whereas to be used to refers to the final result, to get used to refers to the process.
Understanding TO GET USED TO - Present (process)
Structure: to get used to + gerund
Example: I am getting used to driving in Madrid. - It's a process. I'm not used to it yet, but I probably will be in a couple of months.
- Usually is used to describe a present habit.
Structure: usually + present simple
Ex. - I usually go to the cinema on Saturdays. - This is a present habit. It's not difficult to do and it never was.
- Mistakes are made with usually and to be used to. So think first, is this just a habit or is it something that initially was difficult for me? In our example above – I usually go to the cinema on Saturdays, this is a habit. In normal situations, this habit was not difficult for you to achieve.
- Notice that only one of the forms is followed by the infinitive – used to. The other two, to be used to and to get used to, are followed by gerunds.
In the comments below, answer the question. Then follow us on Twitter and I’ll tweet the answers!
Which of these would you use with the each of the terms – usually, to be used to, used to, and to get used to? Please use complete sentences.
- Using my new mobile phone (Context – I bought a new phone 3 weeks ago. It’s very different from my old one. At the beginning it was a nightmare! Now it’s better but not perfect.)
- Eat breakfast at 8:00 AM
- Eating dinner at Spanish time (I’m an American. We have dinner at 18:00. In Spain, it’s much later, but I’ve been living here 20 years now.)
- Get an allowance or pocket money from my parents
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