Accustomed to do


Senior Member
Argentina Spanish

I have been reading "Bleak House" by C. Dickens and one thing that surprised me was that every time that "accustomed to" appears being followed by verb, this verb is always in the infinitive, instead of being in the present participle ("accustomed to do" instead of "accustomed to doing"). For example:

'Mr. Snagsby, as a timid man, is accustomed to cough with a variety of expressions, and so to save words.'

'Mr. Chadband, pausing with the resignation of a man accustomed to be persecuted and languidly folding up his chin into his fat smile, says, "Let us hear the maiden! Speak, maiden!"'

'The poor children scrambled up and tumbled down the house as they had always been accustomed to do.'

Is this just an expression that changed with time? Would it be wrong to say those sentences nowadays?
Here is the novel, if you wish to see the sentences:

I'm worried about getting accustomed to saying things "incorrectly" because of this novel.:) There may be other "wrong" (?) expressions I'm not aware of and I'm not picking up...
  • GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I would count this up to one of two things (or both):

    1. This is "Dickensian" English - and a use that has faded into the past;
    2. This is a British English construction.

    While I have seen it used, as Cowgirl mentioned, it is not common in everyday speech. I don't even know it to be common in AE.

    "...accustomed to +ing verb" is the standard construction in AE.


    Senior Member
    Argentina Spanish
    So you consider it as strange as I do. I just wanted to check that.
    Thanks a lot! :)
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