are used to receive/ receiving [infinitive / gerund]

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nicoides

New Member
Argentinian Spanish
Hello everybody. Hope you can help me out on this one. Last week one of my students wrote the following sentence in an e-mail writing task.

"We apologize for not being able to provide the service you are used to recieve from us"

Although I could easily suggest rephrasing the sentence e.g "We apologize for not being able to provide the service you usually recieve from us" it was hard for me to determine (let alone explain) whether it right or wrong and why. I told him that it sounded a bit off to me. The issue of when is "used to" followed by a gerund or an infinitive (without to) was raised by another student.

I explained the difference between "I used to play guitar in the 80s" where we are talking about habits in the past, and "I am used to going there" where we want to say we are accostumed to something.

The use of a gerund in my student's sentence sounds awful to me even though "used to" clearly has the sense of "accostumed to" in that context. Is the original sentence correct? Why? I just can't figure it out.

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.
 
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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    The original sentence is incorrect, which may be part of your problem:
    We apologize for not being able to provide the service you are used to receiving from us.
    Slightly better:
    We apologize for not being able to provide the service you have come to expect from us.

    But another concern for me is that "service" can be either "customer service" or a "service" that is more akin to a product -- like "wireless broadband service (which we no longer offer)."

    This might be made clear in the greater context of things, but in the sentence above, it sounds like a service product that has been discontinued. If it were an apology for a service outage, I would expect a different message entirely. The message above sounds permanent, not temporary.

    As I posted, I just noticed... Welcome to the forum. :)
     

    MaximuS.111

    Senior Member
    russian
    nicoides, just don't get it wrong, but as far as know "accostumed" is spelled like this "accustomed"... You wrote it incorrectly through all the message, so I figured it wasn't just a typo and decided to help you avoid this mistake in the future.

    And isn't it a bit weird to say "I'm used to something" instead of, say, "I've got used to something" ? And does "sounds a bit off to me" mean
    out of base?

    Thanks.

    Please, correct any mistake I make.
     

    nicoides

    New Member
    Argentinian Spanish
    Thanks for the spelling correction Maximus! As far as I'm concerned, "I'm used to something" is not strange, and it should not be used interchangeably with "I've got used to something" because there's a difference in the time reference due to the use of a different tense. Finally "sounds a bit off" simply means, sounds wrong, or inaccurate. This expression is quite informal, I actually picked it up from a drumming tutorial DVD made by Dave Weckl (a great drummer but not necessarily the most accurate speaker!)


    Copyright, thank you for your warm welcome and your quick reply. From your answer I gather that the use of the gerund (which I deemed wrong) is the correct form: "We apologize for not being able to provide the service you are used to receiving from us." The second option you provided sounds way better to me. Your other comments were also very helpful because the student was actually trying to apologize for a service outage, and while caught in the grammatical issues I overlooked the fact that his message does sound permanent and not temporary (as you pointed out.) How would you rephrase it? Thanks for all you help!
     

    MaximuS.111

    Senior Member
    russian
    nicoides, could you please provide a broader explanation regarding time reference which you mentioned when was talking about "I'm used to" and "I've got used to" expressions distinction?
    Do you mean that "I'm used to" refers to the process of adaption which has not yet completed, while "I've got used to" implies that a person has already adapted? Why don't we use then "I'm getting used to" to express continuing action?
    Thank you!

    By the way, does your web browser underline mistakes in spelling? If not, I think maybe you can tune it somehow to make it partially work as a checker :)
     
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