Be used to

From Teflpedia

Be used to is an English lexical-grammatical structure that uses be with "used" (which in this case is the past participle of use) and to, and an object noun. A more formal version is "be accustomed to".

Meaning[edit | edit source]

Usually the thing that we are used to is something that is generally perceived as annoying, but not by the speaker.

In the case of something that was originally annoying but becomes less annoying, we use the slightly different forms get used to or become used to.

Form[edit | edit source]

This is a pseudo-passive structure.

For example (present/past):

  • "I am used to loud noise" / "I was used to loud noise."
  • "I’m not used to loud noise" / "I wasn’t used to loud noise."
  • "Are you used to loud noise?" / "Were you used to loud noise?"
  • "Aren’t you used to loud noise?" / "Weren’t you used to loud noise?"

We don’t usually use the progressive aspect; *I am being used to…

Pedagogy[edit | edit source]

EFL learners often confuse this structure with used to, since they contain similar elements.[1] Note that be used to contains be and is followed by a noun phrase, whereas used to is followed by an infinitive (to is part of to-infinitive), e.g. used to do something.

References[edit | edit source]