somebody that u used to know who was a pain u were used to

it can be difficult for esl students to distinguish between used to + simple verb form to express an activity done in the past but not anymore and be,get used to + -ing form of a verb or a noun to refer to actions or things that are regular, normal or that people are accustomed to (be) or becoming accustomed to (get).

fun elt practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

here are two musical examples of each structure to help u remember the difference.

  • set adrift on memory bliss of you is a nostalgic, romantic hip hop track by pm dawnat 2:19 the lyrics use this metaphor

reality used to be a friend of mine

reality was a friend but isn’t anymore. fantasy, delusion (confusion, misunderstanding) or some other non-reality has taken over.

your back used to look like my chest.

similarly, gotye & kimbra‘s huge hit of 2011/2012 somebody that i used to know remembers the unhappy end to an unhealthy relationship.

  • the second structure appears in depeche mode‘s song a pain that i’m used to. the title is used in the chorus

all this running around it’s wearing me down, just give me a pain that i’m used to

a pain that i’m used to, in other words, is something that hurts (pain) but is familiar. wear down means gradually taking away strength or resistance. so the idea is that someone unpleasant but familiar is preferable to running around trying to find someone new.

and the lyrics to queen‘s famous song i want to break free at 3:10 say

but life still goes on, i can’t get used to living without u

freddy mercury vacuming

god knows she wants to break free 

the housewife with the mustache in the video (freddie mercury) wants to be free, but cannot adjust to the consequences of leaving the relationship.

do these songs help u see the difference between the two structures? which video is your favorite? share your opinions under leave a reply


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