Used To (Doing) Something

We say “used to doing something” with the verb “to be” or “to get” when we want to talk about things that are familiar to us. You can use these forms when you want to talk about the process of adapting to something new – life in a new country, your experiences in a new job, or changes in your life.

Make sure you don’t confuse this form with “used to + infinitive” which we use to talk about past habits or situations.

Be Used To

When you use the verb “to be” with “used to”, you’re showing that you are now famiiar (or not) with something.

“The boss has a few funny habits, but I’m used to them now.”
(= Maybe it took me a few months, but now I’m familar with his strange habits.)

“It took her a while to settle in, because she wasn’t used to the British school system.”
(= She didn’t have the experience of the school system.)

She still isn’t used to wearing a uniform every day.”
(= She hasn’t become familiar with this idea yet.)

Remember that “be used to” is followed by either a noun or an “ing” form:

“I’m not used to driving on the left.”
“He isn’t used to British weather.”

Get Used To

When you “used to” with the verb “get”, you’re talking about the process of becoming familar with something.

I’m getting used to the shop opening times.”
(= I’m slowly understanding when they open and close.”

Remember: Because “get” is a verb, you can use it in different tenses and with modal auxiliaries.

I got used to the food quite quickly.” (Past Simple)

They had to get used to living on a budget.” (In infinitive form after “have to”)

She hasn’t got used to her baby brother yet.” (With Present Perfect)

I’ll never get used to the accent here!” (With “will”)
You’ll soon get used to the boss.” (With “will”)

I might get used to the food, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to eating so early.” (With “might”)

Remember: “get used to” is followed either by a noun or an “ing” form:
“He got used to his colleagues’ sense of humour.”
“He got used to leaving early on Friday afternoons.”

It Takes Some Getting Used To

This is a very common phrase meaning that it will take you some time to become familiar with a new thing.

“The people here take some getting used to!”
(= The people here are a little strange!)

“My new boss is nice, but she took some getting used to.”
(= She’s very different from my last boss)

“I like living in a big city, but it took some getting used to at first.”
(= At the beginning I found it a bit strange.)

“The system is a little complicated and it might take some getting used to.”
(= You can’t learn it immediately)

Need more practice using phrases like these in everyday situations? Join the English Fluency Club where you get regular speaking practice – and my expert feedback with suggestions.

When you join the English Fluency Club you get…

– 2 Complete English Fluency Programs (with 650+ fluency phrases)
– 3 Live group lessons every month to practise speaking and pronunciation
– A personal speaking evaluation every month
Access to the Fast Phrase Finder – the world’s first spreadsheet of conversation phrases 
1 personal lesson on Zoom