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Be used to

Be used to something
Be used to doing

Be used to is an expression. It is not a tense. If I say "I am used to Thailand", it is like saying "I am accustomed to Thailand."

Do not confuse be used to with with the special construction used to do. They have different meanings.

Structure of Be used to

The structure is:

subject + be + used to + object

  subject main verb
not used to object
+ I am   used to horses.
- He is not used to horses.
We aren't used to horses.
? Are you   used to horses?

If the object involves a verb, we use the -ing form:

I am not used to being lied to.
He is   used to working late.
We aren't used to taking the bus.
Are you   used to cooking?
Why do we use -ing for a verb after be used to? Because we always use -ing for a verb after a preposition - and the to is a preposition.

Use of Be used to

The be used to expression is for talking about something that is familiar to us or easy for us. For example:

  • I am used to driving on the left.

It means that it is not a problem for me to drive on the left of the road. I am Japanese. In Japan, people drive on the left. Now I am living in the USA where people drive on the right. Of course, I drive on the right in the USA, but when I go to Japan it is easy for me to drive on the left because "I am used to it".

Look at these examples.

  • I am used to hard work.
  • I am used to working hard.
  • He is not used to New York.
  • He isn't used to living in New York.
  • Are you used to fast food?
  • Are you used to eating quickly?


We can use be used to in any tense. We just conjugate the verb be in the tense that we need. Look at these examples:

  • When we lived in Bangkok, we were used to hot weather.
  • I have been used to snakes for a long time.
  • You will soon be used to living alone.

Now check your understanding »

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