English Grammar Guide

'Be used to' and 'Get used to'

Be used to and Get used to are used to talk about things we are accustomed to, or not, and the change between these two states

When we want to describe a state or action which is normal or habitual in the present, or which is NOT normal or habitual, we can use a form of 'be used to'. When we talk about the change between something being new, and something being normal, we can use 'Get used to'.

Unlike 'used to' these two forms are not restricted to talking about the past.  'Be used to' and 'Get used to' can be used to talk about the past, present or future.

Be used to...

'Be used to' can be followed by either a verb present participle (gerund) or by an object.
The negative form is created by adding 'not'.

The forms are:

  • Subject + be used to + verb present participle (gerund)

  • Subject + be used to + object (noun / pronoun)

  • Subject + be not used to + gerund / object

Examples of use:

  • I have lived in Italy for 5 years, so I am used to speaking Italian. (The activity is normal /habitual for me)

  • He is an accountant, so he is used to working with numbers.  (This activity is normal for him.)

  • She didn't like working at the weekends, but now she is used to it. (This activity is now normal for her, but was not in the past.)

  • I like English cheese, but I am used to (eating) Italian cheese. (In this case, the verb 'eating' is optional...)

  • He is single, so he isn't used to living with children. (Living with children is not normal for him.)

  • He left school 10 years ago, so he isn't used to studying.  (Studying is not normal for him now)

Get used to...

Look at the two statements below. In (a), speaking Italian is not normal for Mark.  In (b), speaking Italian is normal for Mark.

  • (a) When Mark arrived in Italy, he was not used to speaking Italian.     (In the past...)

  • (b)  Mark has lived in Italy for 10 years. He is used to speaking Italian.    (Now...)

The verb form  'Get used to' is used to describe the change between something being new, strange or unusual (a) and something being a habit, or normal (b).
'Get used to' is followed by a noun, pronoun or a continuous verb form. 'Get used to' can be used to talk about the process of change in the past, present or future.


  • He got used to working here very quickly.       (Past simple)

  • Mark arrived in Italy last week, now he is getting used to speaking Italian every day.    (Present continuous)

  • If you move to England you will have to get used to English weather!       (Future simple, + 'Have to')