This is a question I get asked a lot: What is the difference between used to do something and be used to doing something? Well I am going to give you some nice, natural examples to hopefully clear that up for you!
So let’s look at the difference between:
A) I used to drive an automatic car
B) I’m used to driving an automatic car
A) means that you did this in the past but you don’t do it anymore.
In other words, I sold my automatic car and now I drive a manual.
So you can use USED TO + INFINITIVE to talk about past habits or past states.
Here are real examples of USED TO + INFINITIVE about my life.
“I used to smoke but I gave up years ago.”
“I used to live in Germany but I moved back to England in 2009.”
You can see that I no longer smoke and I don’t live in Germany anymore. These habits/states are finished.
B) means that something is normal/easy/familiar for you, although it might be challenging/uncommon for others.
In other words, some people might find driving an automatic car strange but for me it’s normal because I do it all the time.
In this situation you can use BE + USED TO + ING.
Here are real examples of BE + USED TO + ING from my life:
“I’m a teacher so I’m used to talking in front of lots of people.”
“I’ve got a young child so I’m used to getting up very early in the morning.”
You can see that talking in front of lots of people or getting up very early might be challenging or uncommon for some people but for me it’s a part of daily life.
Do you want to save that somewhere handy to remember it, or pin it? Here you go:
MINI WRITING CHALLENGE: Have you got any examples of your own? What did you used to do that you don’t do anymore? Or is there something that you are used to doing in your daily life that other people might find challenging? Scroll right down and leave me a comment and I’ll check your grammar for you!
So two very different meanings with just a tiny change in structure. It’s really important to be accurate with that otherwise you can completely change what you meant to say! I hope you’ve found that lesson useful. Find more lessons here!