This is a lesson about how to use “used to”, “get used to” and “be used to”. The associated exercises are here. The conversation questions are here. This lesson is part of a full B2 level English course.
People used to believe that the Earth was flat. People used to believe that the sun revolved around the Earth.
Now we are used to picturing the sun as the centre of our solar system with everything revolving around it.
One of humanity’s biggest advantages is our adaptability, whatever changes the environment throws at us, we can get used to living in some quite challenging circumstances!
We use “Used to” to describe habitual past states or actions that contrast with the present.
It is followed by an infinitive without to.
[subject] used to [infinitive verb without “to”]
I used to live in England, now I live in Spain.
I used to have long hair, now I am bald.
I didn’t use to read the news when I was young, but I read it every day now that I’m an adult.1
Did you use to watch cartoons?
We can use would as a synonym of used to.
When I was young I would play football in the street.
We CAN’T use would as a synonym of used to for states / non-action verbs!
When I was young I would watch cartoons. GOOD
When I was young I would have long hair.WRONG
We use “get used to” describe a process of becoming accustomed.
We use get used to + gerund.
[subject] [get] used to [ ______ing]
When I came to Spain, it took me a long time to get used to eating so late.
If you go to live in England you’ll have to get used to driving on the left.
He is getting used to working a new timetable.
This is the end result of becoming accustomed.
You can use this form by combining “to be” + “used to” + gerund.
[subject] [to be] used to [ _____ing]
If I say
I am used to taking the metro to work
It means that this is normal for me now, I am accustomed to it. Or in negative
I’m not used to working with this software, it’s different to the systems I’ve used before.
I am not used to sleeping in complete darkness.
Used to + infinitive (without to) = a habitual past action or state.
Get used to + ____ing = A process of accustomization.
Be used to + _____ing = A state of being accustomed.
Use these questions to practise using these forms in context. try to repeat the the “used to” phrases as much as possible to help you to assimilate and remember these forms.
Check your comprehension with the exercises below.