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  • Writer's pictureErin West

The difference between USED TO, BE USED TO, and GET USED TO

Updated: Jul 3

Grammar, Business English, the difference between used to, be used to and get used to
The difference between USED TO, BE USED TO, and GET USED TO

English can sometimes be tricky, especially when phrases sound similar but have different meanings. Three such phrases are "used to, ""be used to," and "get used to." Here’s a simple guide to help you understand the difference.



USED TO


We use "used to" to speak about something that was true or happened regularly in the past but does not happen anymore.


Subject

used to

V1

Subject

didn't use to

V1


never used to

V1


  • I used to play soccer every weekend. (I played soccer regularly in the past, but I don’t anymore.)

  • She used to live in New York. (She lived in New York before, but she doesn’t live there now.)

  • I used to manage a small team in my previous job. (Managing a small team was a regular activity in the past, but it is not the case anymore.)

  • She used to follow strict guidelines in her old company. (Following strict guidelines was a regular practice for her, but she no longer does this.)

  • The stock used to fall frequently before the new CEO took over. (The stock regularly decreased in value in the past, but this has not happened as often since the new CEO took over.)

  • I didn't use to work from home, but now I do almost every day. (Working from home was not a regular practice for me, but now it is.)

  • They didn't use to have meetings on Fridays, but now they do. (They never had meetings on Fridays, but they do now.)



BE USED TO


"Be used to" means being accustomed to something; it is familiar or normal for you.


Subject

be (am/is/are/ was /were)

used to

noun/ pronoun/Ving

Subject

be + not (I'm not/ isn't/ aren't/ wasn't/ weren't)

used to

noun/ pronoun/ Ving


  • I'm used to waking up early. (Waking up early is normal for me now; it's my habit to wake up early.)

  • He is used to his busy schedule. (He is accustomed to his busy schedule.)

  • The marathon runner is used to working tirelessly to achieve his goals. (It is normal for the marathon runner to work really hard; it's his habit to work hard.)

  • He is not used to speaking in front of large crowds and gets very nervous. (He is not accustomed to speaking in front of large crowds and finds it uncomfortable.)

  • She is used to handling difficult customers with ease. (She knows how to deal with difficult customers; she probably does it often, and it's normal for her.)

  • She is not used to setting up her own equipment and needs assistance. (She's not familiar with how to set up the equipment.)

  • Engineers at the tech company are used to innovation, constantly adapting to new technologies and methods. (The engineers are familiar with and comfortable with new ideas and changes.)

  • She was used to the hectic pace of city life. (She was accustomed to and comfortable with the fast and busy lifestyle of the city.)

  • They were used to working long hours during the busy season. (They had a habit of working long hours.)


WORKSHEET USED TO VS BE USED TO
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GET USED TO


We use GET USED TO to discuss the process of becoming comfortable or familiar with something new. It means that, over time, something that was once strange or difficult becomes normal and easy.


GET USED TO can be used in different tenses.


Here are some examples:



CHANGES

REMAINS UNCHANGED

Present Continuous

am/is/ are getting

used to Ving/noun/pronoun

Past Simple

got

used to Ving/noun/pronoun

Present Perfect

have/has got/gotten

used to Ving/noun/pronoun

Future Simple

will get

used to Ving/noun/pronoun

Modal verb "can't"

can't get

used to Ving/noun/pronoun

Modal verb "must"

must get

used to Ving/noun/pronoun

Modal verb "don't have to"

don't/ doesn't have to get

used to Ving/noun/pronoun

  • I'm getting used to working with this new program.

  • She got used to the new office environment quickly.

  • You'll soon get used to handling multiple projects at once.

  • They've already gotten used to the new company policies.

  • He was getting used to his new responsibilities when the team changed.

  • You'll be able to get used to remote work with a little practice.

  • She is getting used to managing her team remotely.

  • He should get used to following the new company protocols.

  • I'm sure she'll get used to the commute.

  • They've got used to the flexible working hours.

  • This new schedule is tough, but he'll get used to it.

  • She's not easy to work with, but they're getting used to her.



Summing Up

USED TO V1

regular actions or states in the past

BE USED TO Ving/ noun/ pronoun

having a habit of doing something

GET USED TO Ving/ noun/ pronoun

acquiring a new habit



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