This article is about two expressions which look similar but have very different uses:
BE USED TO
- followed by a verb with -ing
- a gerund (-ing) is used because 'to' is a preposition not an infinitive
- it means 'to be accustomed to' or 'be familiar with'
- 'Be' can be used in different forms based on the time you are talking about
e.g. was used to, am used to, have been used to, will be used to + modal verbs
I'm used to going to work at 8 o'clock every day.
We were used to spending a lot of time together.
No one should be used to such bad behaviour.
GET USED TO
- followed by a verb with -ing
- it is used to talk about the process of becoming accustomed to or familiar with
- 'get' as well as 'be' can change its form and can be used with different tenses and modal
I had to get used to some cultural differences.
Jack got used to working here quickly. He can adapt without problems.
We are getting used to inflation, but it is tough.
Because of the harsh conditions I'm not sure I will ever get used to this job.
She has been getting used to life here for 3 years. She is still quite unhappy here.
You must get used to it.
- for negatives and questions use an auxiliary verb of the tense you will use (*)
I didn't get used to working here.
She isn't used to going to regular check-ups.
We won't get used to it.
Would Marry ever get used to living in the US?
Were you used to Jim's smoking?
TO = is a preposition here, therefore, it must be followed by a gerund
It works the same way like in this example: I am looking forward to flying to Malaga. 'TO' is also a preposition here, therefore, you will use forms like these:
to going, to sleeping, to waking up, to travelling
It can also be followed by a noun or a pronoun: to my holiday, to dogs, to it, to us
- followed by a verb in an infinitive
- it is used only to talk about a past situation that is no longer true
- it is used for repeated actions or states in the past
TO = is an infinitive here, therefore, a bare verb form follows: to go, to sleep, to wake up, to eat, to travel
- negative: didn't use to
- questions: Did ... use to ..?
I used to visit my grandparents every summer. (I don't do it anymore.)
My brother used to drop me off at work. After I bought my own car, it was not necessary.
You used to live here, didn't you? (a question tag)
Did Anika use to play with Marry in the band? (a question)
Task: Write sentences about you. Think about what you :
used to (for example as a small kid, ten years ago, when your kids were small)
be used to (try different tenses)
get used to (think about changes and try different tenses too)
PS: You can email your sentences to me and I will check them. firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR ADVANCED STUDENTS:
- isn't used for states
- as 'used to' it is used to talk about people’s habits in the past
- if 'used to' and 'would' are used together, 'used to' comes first because it sets the scene and 'would' is used for actions after
e.g. When me and my sister used to go on holiday to my grandparents' cottage, we would spend all days outside. We would work with the grandparents in the garden but we would also go on hikes to the mountains behind their house.
Practice for would x used to: