Used to do, Be Used to something and Get Used to something

Used to – this can be a confusing structure in English.
We can use it to talk about past habits, and then we follow it with a verb. (used to do)
And we can also follow it with a noun, and then it means ‘accustomed to’. (be used to something)  Similarly we can say get used to and that to means growing or becoming accustomed to something.
Notice it’s be used to something. That something is a noun. If you want to put a verb there, you’ll need to use a gerund – so a noun form of a verb. (be/get used to doing something)
Watch the video to see lots of examples.

Used to and Be used to video script

Where are the tomatoes?
You mean the tomatoes.
He’s still getting used to my accent.

I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
I used to live in Cambridge in England.
And I used to live in New York, but now we both live in Philadelphia.
It’s a great city.

Used to do: things that were true in the past, but not true now. So use ‘used to’ to talk about past habits.

When I was a kid, I used to play baseball. I loved it.
We didn’t play baseball in England, but my brothers used to play cricket.

Jay, try some of this.
What is it?
Marmite.
We used to eat it all the time when I was growing up in England.

Now, here’s the tricky thing. We also use ‘used to’ in another expression.
When we’re accustomed to something, we say we are used to it.

Can you pass the sellotape?
Huh?
She means the scotch tape.
Ah, it’s British English.
Yeah, I’m used to it now.

Ah, it’s British English.
Yeah, I’m used to it now.

Notice we use the verb ‘be’ here. We can also use the verb ‘get’, and that means growing accustomed to something.

Hey Jay, look at this.
I’ve got new glasses.
He’s still getting used to them.
Ah!

Have some more marmite Jay.
No thank you.
It’s nice when you get used to it.

OK, let’s compare the two structures. In England, people drive on the left hand side of the road. So I used to drive on the left when I lived there.
But now I live in the US, where people drive on the right. It was strange at first, and I had to get used to it.

I’m used to driving on the right side now.
Ah, but sometimes you forget and get in on the wrong side.
OK. I’m getting used to driving on the right – growing accustomed to it.

Just one more thing. ‘Used to’ is followed by a verb. ‘Be used to’ is followed by a noun.
So if you want to use a verb after ‘be used to’, you have to use a gerund, a noun form of the verb.

Coffee?
Oh, yes please.
Thank you.
Sure.
I’m used to drinking coffee in the mornings now. In England I used to drink tea.

Do you think we could sell marmite to Americans, Jay?
Americans are used to putting peanut butter and jelly on their bread. And butter.
Butter.
Butter.
Butter.
Butter.
Butter.
Butter.
Butter.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.

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