Improve your English! Used to/be used to/get used to

Jul 09, 2012

Hi guys,

Welcome back to my English speakers' blog. Today we're going to have a quick look at the differences between used, used to, be used to, get used to and usually. Then after you've read the rules you'll have time to practise some exercises and see if you can get them right.

So, here goes.


Used is the past simple and past participle of the verb use. It is pronounced differently to used to, be used to and get used to, because it has a /z/ sound instead of a /s/ sound.  E.g.- I used the cricket bat to hit the annoying child.

Used to

Used to is used to talk about repeated actions or states in the past. Often it's to talk about things that have finished. It's followed by the infinitive without to. Also remember to take away the d if it's a negative or a question.                                                                                              E.g.- George Bush used to be president of the U.S.A.                                                                                                                                        E.g.- I didn't use to like her but I do now.

Get used to

Get used to is used to describe the action of becoming accustomed to something that is unusual or perhaps bad. It means to become comfortable with something that is strange, or might be strange. It is followed by a noun (including gerunds) or a noun phrase.                E.g. - I'm getting used to the short English winter nights.                                                 E.g.- I haven't got used to life without my husband.

Be used to

Be used to is to describe the state after you have got used to something. It's similar to getting married and being married. One is an action and the other is a state. Again we use the phrase with a noun, gerund or noun phrase.                                                                                  E.g.- I'm used to his bad behaviour. I find it funny.


Usually is used differently to the others. It refers to how often something happens, not if you feel comfortable doing it.                                                                                                                      E.g.- I usually take my credit card when I go to the supermarket.

Ok guys. That's it for today. There will be a test in my next test so hopefully will see you then.

Good luck with your English!

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