English Grammar

to be or to being

Hello, I am a quite new user of GG and yet very attached to this daily appointment, very stimulating. And I have a question that comes back everytime I meet the construction "to + verb". Why do we (Gee) say(s) "the girl is used to being a good girl" rather than "the girl is used to be a good girl". This is an example that I just red but it gives me problem everytime I meet it. Why and when do we have to use -ing for a verb which would seem to be quite happy with infinitive form.
Thank you for lighting me up (!)
and CveryW


  • I am not a grammarian and I want only to start thinking from the example you read (red is a color).

    "The girl uses to behave properly. I use to fly in skies."
    become in the past: "I used to fly..., the girl used to behave."
    The TO particle here is the same you come across in expressions like:
    I want to fly. The girl refused to be a bad girl. (I think that TO is a preposition.)
    USE/USED here is a verb.

    But USED can sometimes be an adjective.
    USED, adj.+ TO = accustomed to
    TO BE USED TO something = TO BE ACCUSTOMED TO something
    If the thing you are used to is a noun, you simply tell the noun.
    I am used to my wife, I was used to that kind of business,..
    If the thing you are used to is an action , i.e. a verb, you must use the -ing form because that action is often going on, is generally in progress ( as you are used to!).
    So, with the adjective USED TO, always use the progressive form of the verb.
    I am used to beating my wife (Grammatically correct even though it's untrue!).
    I was used to doing business with foreigners.

    A plain mnemonic rule:
    When the verb BE comes before USED TO, put the verb of the action in progressive form.
    If there is no BE verb before USED TO, consider USED TO as a verb and let it trigger an infinitive.

    I was used to worrying when coming across such expression.
    I don't use to worry anymore.

    Be your flower whitening all the tops of this forum!
  • Dear Guardian Angel,

    I couldn't have guessed that a Guardian Angel has got a wife. It means that life in Paradise is more cheerful than I thought...
    I can't understand your sentence: I don't use to worry any more.
    In my opinion (I may be wrong) C.W.

    1. To be used to +ing (whatever the tense is) a)I am used to worrying when my children are late
    b)I was already used to running fast when the marathon started
    c)I will be used to drinking tea after my stay in G.B.

    2. To get used to +ing (always):a) I should get used to wearing glasses
    b)I am getting used to wearing my new glasses
    c)I am sure I will get used to wearing my new teeth!

    BE CAREFUL: used to + infinitive = I did something regularly in the (distant) past.
    I used to drink milk when I was a baby.

    N.B. The verb: to look forward to + ing (to is a preposition)
    Ex. I look forward to hearing from Brian Jones.

    Hope it is clear in heaven and on earth.

    Silky. C.W
  • So I should have said : I'm not used to worrying any more.
    I was wrong, not only in your opinion, but in every good person opinion, and even in my own opinion now.

    I thank you so much for your clear edifying lesson.
    If I get it right, the verb "used to" (+ infinitive or noun) never can be put in the present tense. It always refers to a past habit.

    I think it is now clear in heaven as clever earthlings ever been used to get it clear.

    Hope it is also clear in white flowered French mountains where edelweisses are blossoming.

    Hope also you'll get what you are looking forward to (i.e. hearing for Jones, Brian Jones.)
    P.S. About wives being beaten in heaven, I mentioned it was untrue, thus false. A sentence like that one is true if all its terms are true. As it is said false, it is either because the predicate (being beaten) is false or the subject is false (there are no wives in heaven). Guess which one is false. Maybe both.
  • Thank you to both of you for debating this question from heaven to earth.. As I am not far from the top of the mountains, I could catch the message and now declare:
    I used to drink milk when I was a baby but I didn't quit; I am still used to drinking it. And I am getting used to mixing it with red syrup as I read in a receipt. Right?
    A white flower for each of you.
  • Thank you for your flowered gift, French edelweiss!
    You said "being not far from THE top of THE mountains": is that meaning that you were sort of pointing out which particular moutains are at stake? I'm not sure.
    Anyway the declaration you made filled me to marvel.
  • This terrible tenses drive me crazy - the more I think about "what happens know, before and therefore", the more I choose the wrong tense. - Grammer is a never ending, never learnable secret - for me.
  • The forms of "used to..." and "to use" seems so easy to be used if I read this, but if I should use this forms myself, I never can remember which is the right one and of course I fill in the incorrect one. I guess I just have another thinking - depending to this forms - and I will allways find another way of discribing something, that I don't need to use this terrible forms.
  • To G.A.: Are flowers "blossoming" or "blooming"n ? please

  • As the Angel has not popped in for ages, I take the liberty to go on with Walter's tip.

    From the withered tree a flower is blooming. (saying)
    A flower blossoming on a tree is a promise. (Gee)
    Flowers have more than one trick in their sleeve!

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