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 (152 votes)
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

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

In reply to by Yokohama


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.


All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

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

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.



The LearnEnglish Team

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

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,


The LearnEnglish Team

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

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?
Profile picture for user Peter M.

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

In reply to by Memmedeva Nezrin


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]



The LearnEnglish Team

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

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,


The LearnEnglish Team

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

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.