Used to Grammar

Used to Grammar

'Used to + infinitive'
We use 'used to' for something that happened regularly in the past but no longer happens.


  • I used to smoke a packet a day. (but now I don't smoke)
  • Ben used to travel a lot in his job. (but now he doesn't do)
  • They used to live in China. (but now they live in Germany)

Note: With the negative and the question it's 'use' and not 'used':

  • Did you use to be an engineer?
  • Did he use to study Arabic?
  • She didn't use to like ice cream, but she does now.
  • I didn't use to play football.

We also use it for something that was true but  no longer is.

  • There used to be a cinema in the town but now there isn't.
  • She used to have really long hair but she's had it all cut off.
  • I didn't use to like him but now I do.

Would Do

'Would + infinitive'
We can also use 'would + infinitive' to express a habit or repeated action in the past. We usually use 'would + infinitive' in this way when we're telling a story about the past.


  • When I was a student, we would often have a drink after class on a Tuesday.
  • When I lived in China, we would go to a gym near our house.

We don't use 'would + infinitive' to talk about states in the past. When we're talking about the past, we CAN'T say:

  • I would have a car.
  • I would live in America.

See also Would

Be Used To Doing

'Be used to doing'

We use ' be used to doing' to say that something is normal, not unusual.


I'm used to walking early in the morning, so I don't mind doing it (= walking early is normal for me, it's what I usually do).

  • Ibrahim has lived in England for over a year so he is used to driving on the left now.

Note: We make the negative or the question with the verb 'be' in the normal way. The 'used to' doesn't change:


  • Ibrahim isn't used to staying up late, so he's very tired today.
  • Are your children used to playing a lot?

Be Used To Something

'Be used to something'

We can also use 'be used to + noun',  meaning remains same.


  • I've lived in the Canada almost all my life, so I'm used to cold (= cold is normal for me).
  • That football team always lose, so they're used to disappointment!

We can put the verb 'be' into any tense. So we can talk about things in the past or the future as well as the present using this expression:

  • It was difficult when I first started job, because I wasn't used to the amount of work we had to do.
  • Soon I'll be used to driving in London and I won't be so scared!

Get Used To Doing

'To get used to doing'

We use 'to get used to doing' to talk about the process of something becoming normal for us.


  • I didn't understand the accent when I first moved here but I quickly got used to it.
  • She has started working nights and is still getting used to sleeping during the day.
  • I have always lived in the country but now I'm beginning to get used to living in the city.

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