Common English Mistakes: USED TO or I AM USED TO?

Do you know the difference between these two phrases?

  • I used to play football in the morning
  • I am used to playing football in the morning

Even though these two phrases look very similar, they have a very different meaning. In today’s episode of RealLife TV you are going to discover the difference between these two commonly confused expressions and get a lot of examples on using them.

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Aw yeah, what’s up RealLife fans?

Today I’m going to teach you guys all about the difference between I used to and I am used to, so stick around.

Is this RealLife?


So, when I use the phrase “I am used to something,” it means that I am accustomed to that situation.

“I am used to the weather in this country.” “I am used to the food in this country.”

If I’m going to use a verb, the verb will always be in the ING form, for example, “I am used to waking up early,” or “I am used to catching the bus everyday.”

It means I am accustomed to those situations.


Now, this is very different to when I say “I used to do something.”

When I take away the verb to be, and I just say “I used to play soccer,” this is referring to an habitual action that I did in the past and don’t do anymore.

So, I can say, “I used to play soccer every Saturday when I lived in Australia. Now, I don’t do that anymore.”

So this is a habitual action which I did in the past and don’t do anymore.

When we talk about these actions, it’s generally in reference to that time in your life that is not connected with now.

For example, “when I was a child,” “when I lived in that neighborhood,” “when I worked at that company, I used to drive a car everyday.”

That’s it!

Another really great way to differentiate to be used to and I used to is when you look at the question form of each.

If I’m referring to an action that you are accustomed to, that I am used to, I’m going to use the verb to be, and I’m just going to switch the formation. “Are you used to?” “Are you used to the weather in your country?” “Are you used to a food in that country?”

As opposed to when I use the “I used to do something,” I’m going to use the do auxiliary. “Did you use to?”

So, I’m going to use the do in the past. “Did you use to play football?” “Did you use to get up early?” “Did you use to study English?”

So, when I use the did, the used to is actually conjugated in the present simple, so I take off the D in the end. “Did you use to play guitar?”

So, hopefully that helped you guys differentiate I am used to with I used to.

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So, thanks a lot for tuning in today, and see you next time on RealLife TV.

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  • Willis Lu says:

    Hi! Chad,
    This is very helpful.
    You gave us good examples about how to use:
    (1) S + used to + RV…….
    (2) S + be used to + V-ing……….
    (3) Did you use to + RV……..
    Thanks for the great job.

    • Chad Fishwick says:

      Wha-choo talki bout Willis??? Hehehe Thanks for the good vibes

  • Claudia says:

    Hi Chad!

    Uhmm, I’m a little bit confused and losing the track right now.
    Could it be that “he used to do something” is a higher register in style than “he was used to doing something”? (I intentionally omit other tenses in order to avoid more confusion) 🙂
    I think both formulations are referring to the past and both are usable. Is that right?
    And if it’s right, which one is more common or would you prefer?

    Thank you in advance.

    Dammit! Now I’m the good-vibes-killer :´(

  • Marcio says:

    Tks mate for your explanation. I bet u are used to explaining it in your classes.