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Hi, Hussein,

"used to" describes a habitual action in the past:

1'. He used to eat junk food but one day he realized it was not healthy and decided to become a vegetarian.

"was used to" describes a habitual state in the past, being synonymous with "was accustomed to" or "was in the habit of." The stress is therefore not laid on the action of eating junk food, in this case, but on his being used to doing so:

2'. One day he ate at McDonald's and felt really bad. It was strange, because he was used to eating junk food. There had to be some other reason for his feeing that way.
Thank you, Gustavo for your reply,

quote:
"was used to" describes a habitual state in the past, being synonymous with "was accustomed to" or "was in the habit of."


- I know that "used to" describes a habitable state in the past that no longer happen, and it's equal to "was in the habit of.", too.

- Being "was used to" as synonymous with "was accustomed to" reminds me with "got used to", so what's the difference?
Last edited by Hussein Hassan
quote:
- I know that "used to" describes a habitable state in the past that no longer happen, and it's equal to "was in the habit of.", too.


Hussein, even though it is true that "used to infinitive" can be paraphrased as "was in the habit of V-ing," notice that "used to" refers to a habitual action (not a habitual state) that no longer takes place.

quote:
- Being "was used to" as synonymous with "was accustomed to" reminds me with "got used to", so what's the difference?


"got used to" refers to the acquisition of the habit, not to the state of already being in the habit, for example:

- He didn't like junk food. However, as there was a McDonald's next door, eventually he got used to eating (acquired the habit of eating) junk food.
Hussein, in my efforts to show you the difference between "used to + verb" and "be used to + V-ing" I forgot that the verb after "used to" could be a stative verb.

"have" (not "live," which denotes an action) is, as you have used it, a stative verb, that is, an "action" that will not normally be used in continuous tenses. "be" is, of course, a state.

However, you seem to have been missing my point all along. My focus was not on the type of verb that can come after "used to" or "be used to," but on the meaning of "used to" and "be used to" themselves. Can you see the difference between "used to" and "was used to" in these two sets of sentences?

a.1. My father used to have books on detective stories.
a.2. My father was a great reader so he was used to having books around.

b.1. She used to be elegant on official visits.
b.2. She was used to being the most elegant woman on official visits.

While a.1. and b.1. refer to the actual habit of having books or being elegant (the habit refers to the verbs that follow "used to," which can be dynamic or stative), a.2. and b.2. describe his/her habitual feeling, sensation or condition of having books or being elegant.

Another set of examples which might help clarify things:

c.1. I used to be the best student at school.
c.2. I was used to being the best student at school (I knew what it felt like to be the best student at school.)
Gustavo, do you want to say that:

1.I can use "used to" to refer to sth I did habitually even if I didn't accustom to.

2.I can use "was used to" to refer to sth I accustomed to even if I didn't do that habitually.


can I use both of them in this example:

"When I was living in the country, I used to /was used to get up very early to catch the train into the city."?


I do appreciate each word you wrote and thank you very much for your effort which indeed helps.
quote:
1.I can use "used to" to refer to sth I did habitually even if I didn't accustom to.


Yes. Using your example, you can say:

- When I lived in the country, I used to get up very early to catch the train into the city. However, I never got used to getting up so early and would drowse at work all afternoon.

quote:
2.I can use "was used to" to refer to sth I accustomed to even if I didn't do that habitually.


Yes. Using your example:

- After I moved to the city, I no longer used to get up so early even if I was used to doing so after living so many years in the country.
quote:
*even if I didn't accustom to
quote:
*to refer to sth I accustomed to
Hi, Hussein,

I don't mean to interrupt the valuable discussion you are having with Gustavo here, but I'd like to point out several small things.

First, "BE used to" requires a form "be" (or a copula like "get"). That's why the phrases of yours which I've excerpted above are incorrect.

Second, the form of "be" (etc.) used in "BE used to" doesn't have to be the past tense ("was" or "were"). It can even be the present tense:
    (a) The children had been used to eating sweets.
    (b) The children were used to eating sweets.
    (c) The children have been used to eating sweets.
    (d) The children are used to eating sweets.
    (e) The children will be used to eating sweets.
    (f) The children will have been used to eating sweets.
Third, the word "used" in "BE used to" is an ADJECTIVE, whereas the word "used" in "The children used to eat sweets" is a VERB.

Fourth, unlike the verb "used," the adjective "used" describes a psychological comfort level with a state or action.
Last edited by David, Moderator
quote:
The phrases were in a context to paraphrase the usage of "used to" & "was/were used to". I can't get your point of view, could you clarify why they were incorrect?
Hi, Hussein,

As an adjective, "used" means "accustomed," which is also an adjective. In your paraphrases, you did not use "accustomed" as an adjective and thereby demonstrated that you do not understand how to use "used" as an adjective.

If you had understood the adjectival use of "used" in "used to V-ing" and how it differs from its verbal usage in "used to V," you probably would have never wondered what the difference was between "He used to eat junk food" and "He was used to eating junk food."

Hi, Mawada,

@Mawada Musa posted:

Thank you!

I just wonder “used to” refers to a “habitual action” how can it come with “a house” as in the example above?

'Used to' is used when we refer to things in the past which are no longer true. It can refer to a state or an action or a situation.

- The Nile used to flood and bring fertile soil.  (From our exams)

- That white house over there used to belong to my family. (It belonged to my family in the past, but not any more.) (Cambridge Dictionary).

Hi, Ahmed Salah, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange,

@Ahmed salah posted:

Hello everyone

Yesterday , I came across a sentence that say  



'I came across a sentence that says, not say'.

@Ahmed salah posted:

" While on holidays, I grew used to ( go - going - to go - to going ) swimming everyday. "



Grammatically speaking, 'grow used to' means 'become accustomed to' and should be followed by the 'ing' form.

@Ahmed salah posted:

* I have a feeling that the sentence is built wrong somehow but I am not certain *

IMHO, it sounds very non-native, very awkward and unnatural.

- During the holidays, I went swimming every day. (Meaningful and natural)

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