To be used to (doing) something: Italian grammar lesson 175

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Key Takeaways

Master the Italian way of expressing familiarity with people, places, and habits! This guide will teach you the nuances of “essere abituato a” and how to convey that you’re well-adjusted to various aspects of life in Italy.

  • Grasp the Basics: Learn “essere abituato a” to express being accustomed to something. It’s like saying “I’m cool with it” in Italian style! 🇮🇹
  • Gender and Number Agreement: Match “abituato” with the subject’s gender and number. It’s not just about sounding smart; it’s about not sticking out like a sore thumb!
  • Preposition Perfection: Nail the use of “a” and its variations. It’s the little things that show you’ve got a handle on Italian, not just waving your hands around and shouting “Ciao!”
  • Action Talk: Add an infinitive verb to discuss habitual actions. It’s like saying, “I’m a pro at this” without breaking a sweat.
  • Use “ci” for Brevity: Skip the repetition with “ci” when context is clear. It’s like giving your tongue a break while still being understood. 😌

Quick facts

How do Italians express "to be used to doing something"?

Italians say "essere abituato a fare qualcosa" to indicate being accustomed to doing something.

How does the participle "abituato" change based on gender and number?

It changes to "abituata" for women, "abituati" for multiple men, and "abituate" for multiple women.

What's the structure for saying someone is used to something in Italian?

The structure is "essere abituato + a + qualcosa/qualcuno," using the preposition "a."

How do you say "My friend is used to high heels" in Italian?

You say "La mia amica è abituata ai tacchi alti."

How would you express being used to doing something specific, like drinking hot milk, in Italian?

You say "Io sono abituato a bere il latte caldo."

What is the role of the Italian pronoun "ci" in these expressions?

"Ci" replaces the repeated object or action, similar to "it" in English, to avoid redundancy.

How do you say "I'm used to it" without specifying the object again in Italian?

You say "Ci sono abituato/a," depending on your gender.

How do you modify the preposition "a" when referring to different subjects?

The preposition "a" becomes "alla, alle, al, allo, agli, all" based on the subject.

Can you give an example of someone used to a specific place in Italian?

"Elena e Michele sono abituati al Messico" means "Elena and Michele are used to Mexico."

How do you say "How is it going in Switzerland?" and respond with "I'm used to it" in Italian?

You ask "Come va in Svizzera?" and respond "Bene, ormai ci sono abituata."

My Thoughts

To be used to (doing) something

In Italian, when we want to say “to be used to (doing) something“, we use the following expression: essere abituato a (fare) qualcosa.

This is a very useful and common expression. We usually use it when we want to talk about something or someone we’re familiar with.

It could be a person, a place, an object, or an action.

Abituato, abituata, abituati, abituate

Abituato is a participle and agrees with the subject in terms of gender and number. Here’s the logic:

  • if the sentence refers to a man – the participle ends in “o
  • if the sentence to a woman – the participle ends in “a
  • if the sentence to more than one man – the participle ends in “i
  • if the sentence to more than one woman – the participle ends in “e

Have a look at the examples below:

Anna è abituata al freddo.

Anna is used to the cold.

Io sono abituata a mangiare tardi.

I’m used to eating later.

Loro sono abituate a questi paesaggi.

They are used to these landscapes.

Luca è abituato a parlare in pubblico.

Luca is used to speaking in public.

Essere abituato a qualcosa/qualcuno

Like in English, you can be used to something or someone in Italian too. The structure is always the same but without a verb: essere abituato + a + qualcosa/qualcuno.

Just make sure you use the preposition “a” correctly. These are its other versions which depend on what you’re referring to: ‘alla, alle, al, allo, agli, all‘.

Here are some examples:

La mia amica è abituata ai tacchi alti.

My friend is used to high heels. 

Emanuele è abituato agli spettacoli serali.

Emanuele is used to night shows

Elena e Michele sono abituati al Messico.

Elena and Michele are used to Mexico.

Loro sono abituate alle persone strane.

They are used to strange people.

Essere abituato a fare qualcosa

You can also be used to doing something in Italian. You just need to specify the action by adding a verb in the infinitive, which means the base form (e.g.: mangiare, ballare, bere, dormire).

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In this case, the preposition “a” stays the same. Here are some examples:

Io sono abituato a bere il latte caldo.

I’m used to drinking hot milk.

Beatrice è abituata a correre per ore.

Beatrice is used to running for hours.

The pronoun “ci”

Sometimes you don’t need to say what you’re used to if you and your interlocutors know what you’re referring to.

To avoid repetition, you can just add the word “ci” before essere abituato which replaces what’s already been said. It’s like saying “it” in English.

Have a look at the examples below:

Non ti da fastidio la pioggia?

Doesn’t the rain bother you?

No, ci sono abituata.

No, I got used to it.

Come va in Svizzera?

How is it going in Switzerland?

Bene, ormai ci sono abituata.

It’s good, I’m used to it by now.

Come fai a mangiare cosi presto?

How can you eat so early?

Ci sono abituata.

I’m used to it.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

How to say "to be used to" in Italian?

In Italian "to be used to" is translated as essere abituato a.

What is the pronoun CI?

"CI" can be used both as a direct object pronoun and an indirect object pronoun.

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5 Responses

    1. Ciao Michael!

      Figurati. Qui ci prendiamo cura del tuo percorso per imparare italiano.

    2. Ciao Michael,

      In both sentences, “Non ho l’abitudine di parlare agli sconosciuti” and “Non sono abituato a parlare agli sconosciuti”, both are correct. The first one uses “abitudine” as a noun, while the second one uses “abituate” as a participle.

      Similarly, in “Non hai l’abitudine di chiedere scusa” and “Non sei abituato a chiedere scusa”, both are correct. The verb “essere” is used with “abituate” as a participle in the structure: essere abituato a.

      I hope this clears up your confusion. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

  1. Perche’ tu dice in numero 5 “Non ho l’abitudine di parlare agli sconosciuti” invece di “Non sono abituato….”? E in numero 26 “Non hai l’abitudine di chiedere scusa” invece di “Non ti sei abituato…”. Nella lezione di grammatica, non parli di questo. Dovrò usare “essere” o “avere”?

    1. Ciao Michael!

      Nella frase # 5 sono corrette entrambe le forme “Non ho l’abitudine” e “Non sono abituato”. Nel primo caso, abitudine è il sostantivo mentre nel secondo caso abituato agisce come participio.

      Nella frase #26 sono corrette entrambe le forme “Non hai l’abitudine di chiedere scusa” ma la seconda frase sarebbe “Non sei abituato a chiedere scusa”.

      Si usa il verbo “essere” con abituato come participio con la struttura: essere abituato a.

      Se hai altre domande o dubbi, facci sapere.

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