'used to' + infinitive and 'be' or 'get used to' + '-ing'

Do you know the difference between I used to drive on the left and I'm used to driving on the left?

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

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Language level

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Fri, 29/10/2021 - 16:58

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Hello team. Could you please tell me if the following sentence is correct or not? Why? What is the meaning of it?
- My brother often has stomach troubles as he is used to eating fast food.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

The sentence is grammatical in terms of structure but does not make sense. The brother's stomach troubles come from eating, not from being used to eating. Being used to something means that it is not novel, not that it is done frequently or to excess.

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Sun, 18/07/2021 - 19:57

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Hello, great lesson. However, I have a question, it's about filling the gaps with the word in parentheses: (Options: be getting used to/ get used to/ be used to/ used to- You can also use the negative form): 1) I'm English student, so I (speak) English during our video calls on Zoom 2) I have just gotten married, so I (share) my space with another person. It's not easy at all 3) I have had this phone for 10 years, so I (use) it. I know it like the back of my hand

Hello GiulianaAndy,

I'm afraid we don't help with answers to questions from other sites or sources. If we did, we'd soon end up doing users' homework for them! You'll need to ask the author of the questions, or check in a key if there is one.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Aziz-12345 on Thu, 18/03/2021 - 04:52

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Plz, can you fill in the blank? He used to see me ......... these clothes (dress-dressed-dressing)

Hello Aziz-12345,

The verb 'dress' doesn't seem right to me here; I'd recommend 'wear' instead. After the verb 'see', we use a bare infinitive form ('wear') to speak about seeing an action in general or an -ing form ('wearing') to speak about seeing an action in process. In this case, I'd suggest and -ing form, I think. It depends a little on what exactly the sentence means.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Maahir on Mon, 15/03/2021 - 13:03

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Hi, I am Maahir. please let me know which sentence is grammatically correct. My friend used to be alone, but know he got married and he has a child too. My friend used to be alone, but now he has a wife and a child too. Thanks in advance.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 19/03/2021 - 07:15

In reply to by Maahir

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Hi Maahir,

The correct spelling here is 'now', so the second sentecne is correct.

 

Generally, we don't provide answers to questions like this one. We try to offer explanations of how language works rather than just right or wrong answers as otherwise we would end up doing our users' homework for them!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nayoung on Thu, 11/03/2021 - 14:17

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Hi, I've got a question. In my book there is an example that I can't change to "used to infinitive form". My father has worked in several different countries so I've been to lots of different schools. But I think that present perfect tense(has worked) indicates that it happened at times in the past so that it can be changed to 'used to work in several different countries,'

Hello Nayoung,

The sentence about your father uses the present perfect, which implies that your father is still moving from country from time to time. 'be used to' can only be used to talk about past actions that we no longer do, so your book is right -- it's not correct to use it here.

If your father were retired now and the original sentence had the past simple ('worked in several countries'), then it would be possible to use 'used to' there. But 'I've been to' would not be correct. This is a statement about your life experience and so it wouldn't be correct to use 'used to' as long as you are alive.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jennie1996 on Sun, 07/03/2021 - 02:17

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Hi, im Jennie. I've a question to ask so the question is "Linda isn't used to live/living alone, so sometimes she feels lonely." what is the correct answer? live or living?

Hi jennie1996,

It should be living, because it follows isn't used to. :)

It would be live if the sentence was Linda used to live ... or Linda didn't use to live ..., but this has a different meaning.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Yokohama on Thu, 04/03/2021 - 05:12

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Hello, I have come across the version of "used to" in questions when it was used like this "Did you used to work in a restaurant?" [interrogative] Now, considering that there is no phrase like "use to", it actually now makes sense to me that even if we ask and say "Did", we still need to use the phrase in full i.e. "used to". Could you please let me know what you think of this new version?

Submitted by Kirk on Fri, 05/03/2021 - 08:56

In reply to by Yokohama

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Hello Yokohama,

In a question, 'did you use to' is actually the correct form, not 'did you used to', though the word 'use' is very often misspelled here.

I'm not completely sure I've answered your question. If not, could you please rephrase it? It wasn't completely clear to me what you were asking.

Sorry.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ryanmicah on Sun, 21/02/2021 - 14:43

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Is this correct? I am getting used to + infinitive form of the verb Example: I am getting used to eat/play/live

Hello ryanmicah,

No, that's not correct. In the phrase 'get used to' the word 'to' is not part of an infinitive but is rather a preposition. It is followed by an object, which means here a noun or a gerund, The correct form is:

I am getting used to eating/playing/living etc.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by DanilaKorobkov on Sun, 07/02/2021 - 08:59

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Is there a difference between? 1) I will be used to my new job 2) I will get used to my new job.

Hello DanilaKorobkov,

Yes, there is some difference. In 1, 'be used to' means that you are already familiar with the new job. In 2, 'get used to' means that you are in the process of becoming familiar with the new job.

In other words, in 1, you are already used to it; perhaps it doesn't really feel new to you any more, since it feels normal to you now. In 2, you aren't used to it yet, though you are beginning to be more used to it -- it doesn't feel normal to you yet, though maybe not completely strange either.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Memmedeva Nezrin on Sat, 30/01/2021 - 08:30

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Helllo! I dont understand the difference betweeen used to and use to very well.Could you lease explain it by showing examples or the structure?

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 30/01/2021 - 09:06

In reply to by Memmedeva Nezrin

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Hello Memmedeva Nezrin,

The form use to appears in negative and interrogative sentences when talking about past habits, as described in the first section on the page:

I used to work in a restaurant. [affirmative]

I didn't use to work in a restaurant. [negative]

Did you use to work in a restaurant? [interrogative]

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by hardikpatild on Fri, 22/01/2021 - 15:04

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Can we use present continuous tense in get used to??

Hi hardikpatild,

Yes! Here are some examples.

  • My new job is difficult but I'm getting used to it.
  • How do you find living by yourself? Are you getting used to it?
  • She's getting used to working from home. She's been doing it for a few weeks now.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by soniariverofdez on Sun, 27/12/2020 - 18:54

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hello, I have a question, so if we need "be + used to+ gerund-ing" Why in the first activity there is a sentence: How's the new job? Are you used to it yet? I can't see the gerund... I don't understand.

Hi soniariverofdez,

Yes, be used to can be followed by the gerund! But it's not the only possible structure. It can also be followed by:

  • a noun phrase (e.g. I'm not used to my new job.)
  • a pronoun (e.g. I'm not used to it.)

Does that make sense? There are some more examples of these structures in the activities above.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by susanavali on Sun, 06/12/2020 - 20:22

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Hi thank you for your lessons, they are so useful , but have some problems with this lesson and the practices , I will share my problems with you and I hope you explain to me why should we choose these answers, thank you. We _____ much positive feedback about our old product, but the new formula is really successful. (didn't use to get) Even though I loved my old job, I _____ the long hours. (couldn't get used to) I _____ the guitar but I don't have time now. (used to play)

Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 07/12/2020 - 07:54

In reply to by susanavali

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Hi susanavali,

In the first sentence you are describing an repeated/typical/normal action in the past which is no longer true. Thus 'used to' is needed. In this context you need a negative as the word 'much' is generally used in questions and negatives; also, the contrast with getting positive feedback now makes it plain that it was different in the past. Thus 'didn't use to' is the answer.

 

In the second example, we are talking about trying to accept something which was difficult (long hours). The speaker tried to accept the long hours as normal but failed. Thus 'couldn't get used to' is the correct form.

 

In the third example the meaning is similar to the first. We have a regular past action (playing the guitar) which is no longer true. Hence, 'used to play' is needed.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

I am sorry, but in the test the correct answer to the first sentence was use to instead of used to.Is there any difference?

Hello Memmedeva Nezrin,

I'm afraid you're mistaken. I've checked both tasks and the answers to the first questions are used to work (task 1) and got used to (task 2).

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Stellaaa on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 05:15

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I am getting used to this place. I become familiar with this place.Are they the same?

Hello Stellaaa,

In terms of meaning, these are very similar. I think become familiar tends to be used with a sense of recognition - the way something looks or is physically organised - while used to suggests something more like a routine of some sort becoming normal.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

 

Hello and thank you for giving me time today. I also want to know difference between would and could.I'm still not sure about those 2 words.

Hello Stellaaa,

I'd suggest you have a look at the Modal verbs section of our Grammar reference. Both 'could' and 'would' are mentioned on several pages in that section and the explanations should give you a good idea of how to use them.

After you study them a bit, let us know if you have any questions -- there's a space for comments on those pages as well and we'd be happy to help you with specific questions.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by cha14 on Sat, 14/11/2020 - 11:13

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Hi, I think there is a mistake in this sentence : No matter how many times I fly, I'll never get used to take-off and landing!. Isn' it "i will never get used to takeing-off and landing" ? Thank you for your answer

Hello cha14,

In this context 'take-off' is a noun and it is grammatically correct. We often use this form:

What time is take-off?

With such a strong wind that was a difficult take-off!

 

It's also correct to use 'taking off' here. There is no difference in meaning.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by danybern on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 18:23

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Hi I have a question, on Monday I am having an English exam and I did not understand the form get used to in some sentences. How can we know what to use "get" or "got" in the sentence for example in this one GET-- Jenny is worried that she won't be able to get used to the Peruvian lifestyle. GOT--- The children quickly got used to their new school.

Hello danybern,

The difference is the time that the getting used to happens. 'get' is present tense and 'got' is past tense. Notice that in the first sentence, the verbs are 'is worried' and 'won't be able', which refer to the present and future -- so 'get' is better than 'got'.

The second sentence is about the past and so 'got' is more appropriate.

Hope this make sense.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by John A. on Mon, 19/10/2020 - 19:07

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Hi, In the third sentence, (I work from home so I _____ people around me all day.) I didn't get why it was "m used to not having" rather than "m not used to have" Thanks in advance for your help.

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 20/10/2020 - 08:34

In reply to by John A.

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Hi John A.

Two answers are possible here:

I'm used to not having...

I'm not used to having...

In this context, there is little if any difference between them.

 

In the construction 'be used to','to' is a preposition, not a part of the infinitive. It is followed by an object, generally a noun or gerund:

I'm used to my office.

I'm used to taking the bus to work.

I'm used to not having people around me.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter. I'm a little bit confused between "used to not having" and "not used to having" in that context. According to the question (I work from home, so I____people around me all day) Since I work from home, 1. Does "I'm used to not having people around me" mean: I'm used to working without my co-wokers? My focus was in the words "not having" 2. Does "I'm not used to having people around me" mean: I'm not used to working with all of people in my house? Because my focus was in the words "I'm not used to"

Hello arik,

1. Yes, that's correct: used to not having means that for you it is normal to not have...

2. Yes, again that's correct: not used to having means that for you it is not normal to have...

 

In your context I don't think there is any difference, so both forms work equally well. You can say you are used to an absence of people (used to not having) or that you are not used to a presence (not used to having); it's really two ways of saying the same thing.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sara hesham on Mon, 05/10/2020 - 12:30

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what's the difference between " I got used to sleeping with the lights on " " I was used to sleeping with the lights on " " I used to sleep with the lights on " ?

Hello Sara hesham,

We say get used to something when there is a change over time from something being new or strange to it becoming familiar. Your first sentence is like this: at first sleeping with the lights on was strange but it then became normal.

 

We say be used to something when something is normal for us. It does not tell us anything about change: it could be something that was never strange for us, or it could be something that became normal over time. This is the meaning of your second sentence.

 

We use used to do something when we did something regularly or normally in the past but do not do it anymore. This is the meaning of your third sentence.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you so much for the explanation. It helps me a lot to understand the difference. Thu Ha

Submitted by Viktoria on Sat, 12/09/2020 - 14:30

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Hi I can't understand when I can use infinitive after get use to and when " ing" form of the verb

Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 12/09/2020 - 15:45

In reply to by Viktoria

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Hello Viktoria,

There is no time I can think of when an infinitive is used after 'get used to'. The 'to' in 'get used to' is not part of a verb -- it is a preposition. After a preposition, we can put a noun (e.g. 'get used to the weather') or a verb in the '-ing' form (e.g. 'get used to speaking French'). We use this form to speak about how we feel about something.

Note that this is different from 'used to' + infinitive, which is used to speak about past habitual actions that are no longer true.

Does that make sense?

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Sun, 30/08/2020 - 17:16

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Interesting grammar rules, I only knew how to use 'used to' but now I realise the importance regarding use 'get used to' and 'be used to' so that these new concepts allow to show more knowledge about English so native speaker could feel that and may talk to you natural.

Submitted by Westnur on Sun, 23/08/2020 - 20:57

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Dear team, I'm new hear and today is my first day. So, my question is, is it possible to say " I do used to play football in the morning" for some habitual action. Thanks