Many English learners confuse the two forms of used to. Read this lesson to understand the difference!
used to = accustomed to
The first meaning of used to is “accustomed to” – when something was strange or different for you in the past, but now you think it’s normal:
- When I first moved to Korea, I didn’t like the food – but now I’m used to it.
- We‘re used to waking up early – we do it every day.
- My 4-year-old son cried on the first day of school; he wasn’t used to being away from his mother the whole day.
- It took me a long time to get used to driving on the right side of the road after I moved from New York to London.
- So, you’ve lived in Finland for 5 years – are you used to the cold weather yet?
Before this form of used to, we use the verbs BE and GET – “be” to describe the state of being accustomed to something, and “get” to describe the process of becoming accustomed to something.
After this form of used to, we use a noun or the -ing form.
used to / didn’t use to = something you did repeatedly in the past, but not now
The second meaning of used to is to describe actions you did repeatedly in the past, but that you don’t do now:
- When I was a child, I used to go to the beach with my grandparents.
- He used to play tennis, but he stopped a few years ago.
- She didn’t use to like vegetables, but now she eats them frequently.
- They didn’t use to come to church, but now they’re among the most dedicated members.
- Did you use to drink a lot in your college years?