How could I translate "used to" and "be used to" in Italian to make my Italian friends understand the difference in meaning?
For example, how would you express the difference between

I used to drink a lot of coffees when I was young.


I am used to drinking coffee every morning.

  • I'm not sure I fully get the difference (apart from the obvious fact that “I used to” is a past tense while “I am used to” is a present tense). Could you rephrase your examples for those of us for whom English is not the mother tongue? Perhaps with both reformulation in a present tense (or both in a past tense)?
    – DaG
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 16:13
  • 3
    @DaG In English the first sentence is said by somebody who drank a lot of coffee while young but no longer does. The second is said by somebody who is accustomed to drinking coffee -- whether they still do it or not, it's something that would feel normal to them.
    – Emmabee
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 10:36
  • 1
    "Used to" -> "Sono abituato a"
    – Claudio
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 0:30

3 Answers 3


As Gio says in his answer the locution to be used to can be translated as essere solito, or (in my opinion more commonly) using the adverbial locution di solito followed by the verb at the presente indicativo. So I'd translate I am used to drink coffee every morning as

Di solito bevo caffè ogni mattina.

I would express the verb I used to with the same construction at the past. So I used to drink coffee every morning would be translated as

Di solito bevevo caffè ogni mattina

Or, if describing a habit, with avere l'abitudine di, for example

Avevo l'abitudine di bere caffè ogni mattina.

  • Can we translate "I used to" in italian as "ero solito" and "be used to doing sth" as "essere abituato a fare qualcosa"? If yes, can Italians understand the difference in meaning?
    – Vic
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 16:13
  • 1
    @Vic Could you be more precise in which difference of meaning you want to capture? I am not sure I am getting it. Essere abituato a fare qlc means more or less literally Having the habit of doing sth and essere solito di fare qlc means Doing normally sth. However essere solito is not a very common turn of phrase.
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 20:14
  • Yes, I know it isn't very common in Italian but I imagine that it can help an Italian understand the meaning. "I am used to doing sth/sth stresses the fact that this is something normal, for example, I'm used to drinking black coffee. "I used to" stresses that the action was a habit or a fact in the past.
    – Vic
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 8:05
  • 1
    Denis, if the difference between “to use to” and “to be used to” as explained by Emmabee in a comment to the question is correct, perhaps this answer should be adjusted a bit.
    – DaG
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 10:42
  • 1
    I used to = ero solito... Ero abituato. I am used = sono solito... Sono abituato.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Oct 3, 2017 at 23:01

Essere solito (di) : is an expression that conveys the meaning of "being used to something":

Sono solito (abituato a ) bere caffè ogni mattina.

Nella loc. Essere solito, solere (seguito da un verbo all'infinito presente, preceduto o no dalla prep. di):

  • è solito alzarsi presto la mattina; sono solito leggere il giornale dopo pranzo; erano soliti di fare una partita a carte


  • 1
    This is a good answer, but you should also address how to translate the difference between to use to and to be used to.
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 20:22

I used to drink a lot of coffees when I was young. Bevevo molti caffè quando ero giovane.

I am used to drinking coffee every morning. Sono abituato a bere il caffè ogni mattina.

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