Different uses of 'used to'

Different uses of 'used to'

Do you know the difference between I used to drive on the left and I'm used to driving on the left? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how used to, get used to and be used to are used.

I used to want to be a lawyer but then I realised how hard they work!
How's Boston? Are you used to the cold weather yet?
No matter how many times I fly, I'll never get used to take-off and landing!

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

'used to' + infinitive and 'be' or 'get used to' + '-ing': Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Used to + infinitive and be/get used to + -ing look similar but they have very different uses.

used to

We use used to + infinitive to talk about a past situation that is no longer true. It tells us that there was a repeated action or state in the past which has now changed.

She used to be a long-distance runner when she was younger.
I didn't use to sleep very well, but then I started doing yoga and it really helps.
Did you use to come here as a child?

be used to and get used to

Be used to means 'be familiar with' or 'be accustomed to'.

She's used to the city now and doesn't get lost any more.
He wasn't used to walking so much and his legs hurt after the hike.
I'm a teacher so I'm used to speaking in public.

We use get used to to talk about the process of becoming familiar with something.  

I'm finding this new job hard but I'm sure I'll get used to it soon.
It took my mother years to get used to living in London after moving from Pakistan.
I'm getting used to the noise now. I found it really stressful when I first moved in.

Be used to and get used to are followed by a noun, pronoun or the -ing form of a verb, and can be used about the past, present or future.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

'used to' + infinitive and 'be' or 'get used to' + '-ing': Grammar test 2

Language level

Average: 4.1 (164 votes)

Hi Lyvo,

When we say we are used to something we mean that it is no longer strange or new for us. In other words, there is an implication that at some point in the past it was strange or new.


Sentence C is the correct answer because it contains this sense of change. It is normal for me now implies that it wasn't normal at some point but has become so.


Sentence A has the opposite meaning. It suggests that before a point in the past (which is not given) the activity was normal, but then became strange. For example, you might continue like this:

It had been normal for me to teach my students through social media, but when we changed to the new platform it was very hard for me to adapt.



The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Karan Narang

Submitted by Karan Narang on Wed, 01/07/2020 - 04:04

I am used to practicing english every day even though I can't doing well but I will get used to it soon.

Submitted by LOLA Jalilova on Fri, 05/06/2020 - 13:38

good grammar test

Submitted by salvio90 on Tue, 26/05/2020 - 22:36

Guys I have a big question...can you help me please ?? “ when I went to Italy the weather was so hot ...after 2 days I still didn’t get used to it “ this sentence is it correct for you ? Because my friend told me that it’s wrong .. but I don’t understand why .... My friend said I should say “ after two days I still hadn’t got used to it or I still wasn’t used to it . Why ??? Still doesn’t match with the pass of “ didn’t get used to “ ???

Helo salvio90,

Your friend is correct :)

You have two time references here:

  1. when you went to Italy
  2. two days after arriving

The two verb constructions you are choosing between are be used to and get used to. One describes a state (be used to) and the other a process or a change (get used to).

The process would take place at some point before its result. In other words, when you talk about the process, you are looking back from a point later on (two days after arriving). To talk about events in the past when we are looking back from another point in the past we use a past perfect form, so hadn't got used to is the correct form.

The state is a description of a point in time when that state is either true or not. To describe this, we use a past simple form, so wasn't used to is correct.


I hope that helps to clarify it for you.



The LearnEnglish Team


Submitted by Gelebishokarma on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 20:35

always learn and read is the best. practice on this so much better. Thank you..

Submitted by Kumar on Thu, 14/05/2020 - 08:53

"I am used to walk" or "I am used to walking", which one is correct?

Hello Kumar

The second is correct. 'to' is a preposition in this case.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user OlaIELTS

Submitted by OlaIELTS on Fri, 17/04/2020 - 17:31

It's very helpful.

Submitted by ibra abdellaoui on Wed, 15/04/2020 - 12:40

such helpful lesson thank you teachers