Used To/Be Used To/Get Used To

Used to + infinitive and be/get used to + ing look similar but they have very different uses. Let’s learn how to use used to/be used to and get used to.

Exam in Mind Level B1

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

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.

get used to

We use get used to to talk about the process of becoming familiar with something. If you are not yet accustomed to something, but you are on your way to it, you have to use get used to. We use this structure to talk about the process of something becoming normal for us. For example:

  • I have always lived in the village but now I’m beginning to get used to living in the city.
  • 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.
  • After a while he didn’t mind the noise in the office; he got used to it.
  • You will get used to your new mattress. (He didn’t get used to it.)

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.

  • I didn’t understand the accent when I first moved here but I quickly got used to it.
  • He wasn’t used to the heat and he caught sunstroke.
  • I’m finding this new job hard but I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon.
  • She has started working nights and is still getting used to sleeping during the day.
  • Were they used to drinking a lot of coffee when they worked long hours in the office?
  • Do you think we will be used to doing next to nothing when we are retired?

Have practice in using used to/be used to/get used to

Task 1. Make sentences using ‘be used to + verb-ing’ or ‘be used to + noun / pronoun’. You need to choose the correct tense.

  1. I __________ (live) in London, so the crowds don’t bother me.
  2. She ___________ (the Tokyo subway) so she doesn’t get lost.
  3. He __________ (not / deal) with animals, so he’s a bit scared of the dogs.
  4. John __________ (drive) in heavy traffic.
  5. I __________ (wake) up in the night with my baby. I drink lots of coffee!
  6. It was very hard to get up at five when I first started this job, because I __________ (not / it).
  7. She __________ (drink) a lot of coffee, so she doesn’t have a problem with going to sleep afterwards.
  8. I’ve lived here in Hokkaido for three years but I __________ (not / the snow).
  9. He __________  (do) a lot of exercise, so a ten-mile walk is easy for him.
  10. Julie’s flat is in the centre of London. When she visits a friend in the countryside, it’s difficult for her to sleep because she __________ (not / the quiet).

Task 2. Write used to/be used to or get used to in the spaces provided. Make sure you use the correct verb tense.

  1. When I was a teenager I __________ dress up for Halloween, but not anymore.
  2. At first I was really nervous about driving in Vancouver, but now I __________ to it.
  3. I don’t think I’ll ever __________ to the rain in Vancouver.
  4. Mike is Chinese. He is not __________ speaking English in the office.
  5. The smell of fish is awful, but you’ll __________ it after a couple of months in the job.
  6. There are some things in this life that you’ll never __________ to.
  7. It will take a while for the office staff to __________ the new computer software.
  8. Two years ago, the students __________ have four hours a week of language lessons, but now they have three hours.
  9. She __________ to hard work. She grew up in a very poor family.
  10. My children __________ to eating hamburgers, but I don’t think I’ll ever__________ to eating them.
  11. People from Africa __________ to hot weather because of the dry and hot climate there.
  12. I wasn’t happy about working the evening shift but I have __________ to it now.
  13. When I was starting to write, I __________ think I would never be as good as Margaret Atwood.
  14. Mr. Blundell __________ do lots of interviews when he was the mayor of Vancouver.
  15. He never __________ to flying a helicopter, even after years of working as a copilot.

Task 3. Choose the best answer to fill the gap in each of the following.

1.When I started to work here I needed a lot of help, but now I ______ all the work on my own.

a. am used to doing
b. used to do
c. get used to doing

2. He ______ several books a month, but he doesn’t have time any more.

a. was used to reading
b. got used to reading
c. used to read

3. We were surprised to see her driving – she ______ when we first met her.

a. didn’t use to drive
b. got used to driving
c. was used to driving

4. Don’t worry, it’s a simple program to use. You ______ it in no time, I’m sure.

a. used to use
b. are used to
c. will get used to

5. When I had to commute to work every day I ______ very early.

a. used to getting up
b. used to get up
c. was used to get up

6. I’m afraid I’ll never ______ in this place. I simply don’t like it and never will.

a. got used to living
b. used to live
c. get used to living

7. Whenever we came to Coventry we always ______ in the Central Hotel. We loved it.

a. used to stay
b. got used to staying
c. was used to stay

8. When Pete Smith was the head of our office everything ______ well organized. Now it’s total chaos here.

a. got used to be
b. was used to being
c. used to be

9. Mr Lazy was shocked when he joined our busy company because he ______ doing much work everyday.

a. wasn’t used to
b. didn’t use to
c. used to

10. At first the employees didn’t like the new open-space office, but in the end they ______ it.

a. got used to
b. get used to
c. are used to

Task 4. Write the correct form of used to/be used to or get used to in the space.

  1. Harry_______________ play the piano, but he gave it up some time ago.
  2. At first getting up at 6 am was horrible, but now ____________ it.
  3. It took me some time to ____________ getting up at 6 am, now it’s not a problem.
  4. When I first started to live in Spain, it took me ages ___________ the hot summers.
  5. When I was a youngster, I ___________ read books all the time.
  6. As a child I ______________ learning now, however, I find it a struggle.
  7. My wife insists on listening to opera music, it _________ drive me mad, these days I _____________ it, so I don’t get angry.
  8. My boss is always giving me extra work to do, at first it was a real problem, nowadays I ____________ it and I do what I can.
  9. My English teacher is from the midlands and has a strange accent it took me a while to ______________ the way he spoke.
  10. My grandmother________________ cook on an open fire, she tried to teach my mum but she couldn’t ____________ it.
  11. I will _______________ watching TV in German, it is so hard to understand.
  12. When you go to England, it may take you some time __________ driving on the other side of the road.
  13. I _____________________ studying every day, although I don’t like it.
  14. My son is slowly ___________ living in a small village.
  15. My whole class ____________ our maths teacher shouting when we made mistakes.
  16. He isn’t sure if he will ever __________ working overseas.
  17. I _____________ hate wearing glasses until I realised I could see well.
  18. While he is cooking, he _________ following the instructions.
  19. I have always loved going to school, my sister on the other hand ___________ hate it.
  20. When I bought my first smart phone, it took such a long time before I __________ using it.
  21. During the company restructure no one could _____________ the new working systems.
  22. If I win the lottery, I am sure I will have problems __________ having so much spare cash.
  23. We __________ have an electric oven, when we changed to gas my wife found it hard _________ it and she burnt everything.
  24. Living in a different country can be tricky until you ___________ the cultural differences.
  25. I _________ have a small car, and then I bought something bigger. It took some time, but now I _________ it.

Task 5. Choose the correct answer.

1. Jim doesn’t have a girlfriend now but he _______________________.

A. didn’t use to
В. used to
C. was using to

2. People__________________________ the Internet yet but in a few years time everybody will be surfing around like crazy.

A. aren’t used to using
В. doesn’t use
C. isn’t used to using

3. I _______________________________ to play football when I was young. I’m too old and fat to play now.

A. use
В. got used to
C. used

4. Pepe Juan was in London for a year. He liked England but he_________________ the insipid food and the miserable weather.

A. could ever get used to
В. could never get used to
C. can ever get used to

5. I’ve been getting up early every day for years but I ______________ to it.

A. used
В. am still not used
C. am already used

6. If you go to live in the United Kingdom, you________________________ on the left.

A. ‘ll have to get used to drive
В. ‘ll have to get used to driving
C. ‘d have had to get used to

7. At first it was difficult for her to speak in French all the time but she_________ to it now.

A. is used
В. uses
C. gets used

8. After the holidays it takes me a week _ ____________up early again.

A. to get used to getting
В. to be used to getting
C. to get used to get

9. The queue in the baker’s ___________ to be so bad but now it’s terrible. It must be that new chapata bread they bake. It’s delicious.

A. didn’t use
В. didn’t used
C. was used

10. Do you mind if I________________ your phone?

A. used
В. am using
C. use

Task 6. Complete the following sentences with the correct form of used to/be used to or get used to and the verb in brackets.

  1. Caroline _______________ (have) a walkman, now she has an ipod.
  2. We haven’t seen Bob very often since he got a promotion. He’s very busy. He _____________________(not be) so busy.
  3. I’ve just got my first job. It’s exciting but I’ll have _______________________(work) regular hours.
  4. It is difficult for Tom to drive in England. He ____________________ (drive) on the left hand side of the road.
  5. When Peter was young, he ________________ (ride) a bicycle to school.
  6. People from India usually find our food tasteless. They ________________________ (eat) spicy food.
  7. Computers ________________ (be) very expensive. Now the prices are more reasonable.
  8. English has become international. Businessmen ________________________ (speak) English at international meetings.
  9. During my childhood, I ________________ (spend) a lot of time with my grandparents.
  10. Maria _________________ (think) that she would never ________________________ (live) in New York.

Task 7. For each sentence, choose a variety of used to/be used to or get used to.

  1. European drivers find it difficult to _________________ (drive) on the left when they visit Britain.
  2. See that building there? I _________________ (go) to school there, but now it’s a factory.
  3. I’ve only been at this company a couple of months. I _________________ (still not) how they do things round here.
  4. When I first arrived in this neighbourhood, I _________________ (live) in a house. I had always lived in apartment buildings.
  5. Working till 10pm isn’t a problem. I _________________ (finish) late. I did it in my last job too.
  6. I can’t believe they are going to build an airport just two miles from our new house! I will _________________ (never) all that noise! What a nightmare.
  7. His father _________________ (smoke) twenty cigars a day – now he doesn’t smoke at all!
  8. Whenever all my friends went to discos, I _________________ (never go) with them, but now I enjoy it.
  9. I _________________ (drive) as I have had my driving licence almost a year now.
  10. When Max went to live in Italy, he _________________ (live) there very quickly. He’s a very open minded person.

I hope now it is not a problem for you to use used to/be used and get used to in your own sentences.