I used to study at Cambridge School.

I am used to studying at Cambridge School.

If the verb is continuous tense, it need to be added "verb to be" before used to?

  • Do you mean to phrase it like .. "I am used to be studying at Cambridge school" – Invoker May 18 '14 at 13:25
  • I answered it once here: ell.stackexchange.com/a/14097/3281. It's better to think of I'm used to V-ing as I'm familiar with V-ing; and think of this V-ing as a gerund (or something that works as a noun), not a continuous tense. – Damkerng T. May 18 '14 at 13:55

I used to study at Cambridge School.

This sentence discusses an action that happened entirely in the past.

I was studying at Cambridge School.

That would be past continuous.

To be used to something is a special phrase that means being habituated. For example, "I am used to eating spicy foods, so this dish tastes bland."


I am used to studying at Cambridge School.

actually means, "I have a habit of studying at Cambridge School," which doesn't really make sense. It could make sense if you added some details: "I am used to studying at the Cambridge School library, which offers free Wi-Fi access to the academic journals I need. When I do my studying anywhere else, I find it very inconvenient."

Incidentally, if you are talking about the University of Cambridge, you would usually just say "Cambridge":

I used to study at Cambridge. Now I teach at Oxford.

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  • 2
    There is such a thing as the Cambridge School (sometimes Cambridge School of Languages). It is for language learners. See for example cambridgesol.edu.ec/index_n.html . Actually there are many institutions with "Cambridge" in the name that are not the University. I have known people from these institutions say "I went to Cambridge" or "I studied in Cambridge". Not actually lying, but deceptive. There is a difference. – Floris May 18 '14 at 20:22

There is no continuous construction in either of these sentences. Rather, the used to collocation has two distinct meanings, taking two distinct sorts of complement.


Here used to is employed as a pseudo-modal verb expressing a past habit or state. Like true modals it takes the infinitive form of a lexical verb as its complement.

I used to study ...

Note that this expression is never used in any form or construction except the simple past.

B1. SUBJECT BE used to NP.

Here used to is employed as a transitive adjective meaning, approximately "accustomed to" or "inured to". It takes a Noun Phrase or Gerund Phrase as its complement.

He was used to hardships.
I am used to studying for three hours every night.

In B2-type constructions, VERB may be BE, either as the main verb or as an auxiliary—but it has to be in the gerund form.

He was used to being hungry.
He was used to being mocked.

It is theoretically possible to use BE here in a progressive construction, but it's very artificial, in part because English speakers dislike adjacent -ing forms. I find it difficult to think of a situation in which this would arise naturally.

? I am used to being studying by six o'clock every night.

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  • Hi Stoney. Since the sentence is not progressive is it correct to say "Ergative is occasionally used to categorizing verbs."? I think in this case "to" is a preposition. – Abbasi Jan 27 '17 at 20:46
  • @Abbasi No. You may express purpose with a 'marked' infinitival to VERB or with a preposition phrase for VERBing, but not with to VERBing. – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 27 '17 at 20:57
  • Let me ask this question: Is "to" a preposition in the sentence? – Abbasi Jan 27 '17 at 21:23
  • @Abbasi Historically it derives from the preposition, but traditional (19th-early 20th-century) grammar regarded it as component of the infinitive, and modern grammarians tend to call it an 'infinitive marker' or a 'subordinator'. – StoneyB on hiatus Jan 27 '17 at 21:37
  • I know that it is most of the times part of full infinitive but there is some to on the list of prepositions which seems to be that. – Abbasi Jan 27 '17 at 21:40

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