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 (166 votes)
Profile picture for user Peter M.

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

In reply to by Maahir


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!



The LearnEnglish Team

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

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,


The LearnEnglish Team

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

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.


The LearnEnglish Team

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

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?
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.