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used to + ing gerund

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  • carla 123
    5 November, 2007 at 22:50
    • Total posts: 7

    I’m used to eating a big breakfast.

    In this sentence I need to identify the form, meaning and use.
    Would I be correct in thinking the stress comes on the word ‘used’?

    I need to analyse this as part of a CELTA assignment. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. :lol:

    Sue Swift
    6 November, 2007 at 18:14
    • Total posts: 26

    Reply To: used to+ing gerund

    Form : Be + adjective + preposition. Prepositions can be followed by nouns or Ving so I’m used to dogs or I’m used to eating … are both possible. A frequent mistake made by students is not realising that to is a preposition and thinking it starts an infinitive. So they’ll say I’m used to eat … This problem is made worse by the fact that they’ll probably already have met I used to (go swimming a lot) and will confuse the two.

    As regards the stress, it depends. In each of the following examples a different word (underlined) would carry the primary stress.

    A : I hope this isn’t too much for you?
    B: It’s fine. I’m used to eating a big breakfast.

    A : Coffee and biscuits for breakfast. OK?
    B: Well, actually I’m used to eating a big breakfast.

    A : Do you usually have a big lunch?
    B: No, actually I’m used to eating a big breakfast.

    A : Tim isn’t used to eating a big breakfast
    Tim : Don’t talk rubbish. I am used to eating a big breakfast.

    Stress will shift dependent on context.

    Meaning : the structure describes something which has already frequently been experienced and is no longer strange.

    Use : always depends on context. For example –

    A : Be careful! He bites!
    B : It’s OK. I’m used to handling hamsters
    use = reassuring

    A : You can drive.
    B : Oh – actually, I’m not used to automatics.
    Use : refusing

    and a thousand and one others. Change the context, change the use.

    For articles on ELT methodology and practical activities – http://eltnotebook.blogspot.com

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