Use to or used to – what’s the difference?

Use to or used to? Given that use to and used to look like two forms of the same expression but in a different grammatical tense, many make mistakes in using them correctly. In fact, use to and used to are two expressions that shall be used in different situations. Let’s investigate this issue!

Use to or used to? Which form is correct meaning definition correct form examples

Use to or used to? Use to – what does it mean, and when do we use it?

The phrase use to should be applied while explaining that something is put into service for a certain purpose. Usually, the construction looks as follows: use + noun + to + verb infinitive.

Examples of use to in sentences

  • I use almond milk, cinnamon, and banana to make this delicious smoothie.
  • The workman use a screwdriver to put those planks together.

Use to or used to? Used to – what does it mean, and when do we use it?

The phrase used to should be applied while expressing that something was done or experienced in the past but is no longer accurate.

Examples of used to in sentences

  • I used to go swimming every day, but now I prefer riding a bike.
  • My mom used to make this soup every Sunday.

Be used to vs. get used toused to in idiomatic expressions

As if all that weren’t enough, there are two idioms with used to that convey different meanings. The idiom be used to is applied when one wishes to explain that somebody is accustomed to a certain condition or activity. Get used to, on the other hand, refers to the situations in which someone becomes familiar with something or someone. It is crucial to remember that after those two idioms, the verb ending in -ing or a noun is required.

Examples of be used to and get used to in sentences

be used to

  • She is used to working late.
  • We are used to kids in our neighborhood – many young families live here.

get used to

  • Eventually, he will get used to getting up early.
  • My mom got used to my dog, even though she didn’t like animals.

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Student of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw. Enthusiast of books, movies, and music. In her free time, she rides a bike, swims, and goes for walks. In the future, she dreams of a career as a translator.