Question 7

Ask the wise old owl

Wise Old Owl

What’s the difference between “used to” and “to be used to”?

It’s important to understand the difference here, because it will change the meaning of your sentence.

To get or be used to something means that it is not new or strange for you any more. You are familiar with it and it has become normal for you.

To get or be used to + verb + ing
I’m not used to getting up so early. I hate it!
It will take me some time to get used to driving on the other side of the road.

Or: to get or be used to + noun
My father is used to driving long distances because he needs to visit customers in other parts of the country.
We’ve bought a house on a main road. Sometimes the traffic keeps me awake at night, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
I visited some friends in a part of Germany where many people speak with a strong regional accent. It took me a while to get used to their accent and understand what they were saying.

Used to + verb
This means that you did something in the past, over a period of time, but you don’t do it now.

I used to drive to work, but now I get the bus.
When I was younger, I used to live in a small village.
I used to go horse-riding every weekend, but now I don’t have time.

More articles in this series

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