"Used to" in English Grammar

Used to

One of the functions of this expression is to talk about repeated actions in the past which we don't do in the present.

"Used to" in English Grammar

Used to

'Used to' has two meanings:
We use 'used to' to say that an action happened continuously, habitually or frequently during a period in the past, but no longer occurs.

Grammatical Functions

In negatives and questions, the correct form is 'used to'. To form questions, use 'did' and to form a negative sentence, use 'didn't use to'.

Didn't you use to have long hair?

If we use 'used to' to mean; we did something regularly and frequently in the past; the rule is to use an infinitive without 'to' after used to.

I used to go to school every day when I was 12. (NOT I used to going to school every day.)

2. When 'used to' is accompanied by the verb 'be', it talks about an action that you're accustomed to doing it and it's no longer strange.

He's used to the noise from the traffic now.

He is accustomed to the noise from the traffic now.

I'm used to getting up early.

If we use 'used to' to mean we are accustomed to doing something; in this case, we have to use gerunds (verb+ -ing) after 'used to'. Remember the structure is subject + be + used to + gerund.

She is used to lying. (NOT She is used to lie.)

using 'used to' to talk about habits

Get Used to

In spoken and informal English, you can also say the expression 'get used to'. It expresses an action or situation that is gradually becoming less strange, or more familiar.

It takes time to get used to my new working environment.

Here, we mean; it takes time to gradually become familiar with my new working environment.

Don't worry, you'll get used to it soon.

In this case, it means, it'll be less strange soon.


'used to' is use to express:

  1. an activity that you did regularly in the past
  2. an activity that you are accustomed to
  3. an activity that gets less strange over time

Each meaning has its own grammatical rule which was discussed in the article.

used to be + used to get + used to
They used to have long hair. He is used to driving at night. Humans get used to every change over time.


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