Here's a question (a part of a made-up conversation):

"What unusually shaped guitar you were playing on at the concert! Did it take you long to get used to it?"

My question:

Would it be idiomatic to use "guitar" as the subject, answering:

A new guitar always takes some time getting used to.


A new guitar always takes some time to be gotten used to.


In the phrase "to get used to something", should that something always be the object?

It always takes (one) some time to get used to playing (on) a new guitar.

What another alternative is there for me, if there is one, regarding the idea I'd wish to express using the above idiom?

  • The word "adapt" could be a one-word substitution for the phrase. 1) Adapting to any guitar takes a bit of time. 2) A new guitar always involves some adaption time. – RichF Feb 15 '17 at 21:52
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    You're making it too complicated. "A new guitar always takes time to get used to" is fine. – stangdon Feb 15 '17 at 21:54
  • A new guitar takes some getting used to. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Feb 15 '17 at 23:38

It is quite acceptable to use guitar, and you can use either the -ing or a to-infinitive (I prefer the infinitive)

A new guitar takes some time (to get/getting) used to.

You can also use "it" (as a "weather it")

It takes some time to get used to a new guitar.

The passive form "be got/gotten used to" seems ugly, I wouldn't use it, but it is grammatically correct too

For example in a site about purchasing a mattress they say "A new mattress takes time to get used to, so we recommend spending at least 30 nights sleeping on your mattress..." So this structure is used by native speakers.

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  • Thanks for a quick response. So "this gadget is quite easy to get used to" also works, doesn't it? – Victor B. Feb 15 '17 at 22:08

You could try the phrase "break [something] in" or "break in "

It means to use something until it is comfortable. The changes could occur in the object itself, or the user.

Ex. I just bought these new leather shoes. It will take me a few months to break them in. (Perhaps the shoes will become supple and adjust to their owners feet after months of use)

I'm going to break in my new mouse in this AI game before I head to a PvP game. (The mouse itself likely does not undergo any changes but the user will become accustomed to using it)

Of course you can use guitar:

It always takes time to break a new guitar in.

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to get used to is being used as a verb, and verbs act on objects.

get is an overused word in the English language, and in the case of get used to it takes the place of far more descriptive words, such as acclimate, accustom, acquaint, adapt, or adjust. For example:

A new guitar always takes some time to adapt to.

A new guitar always takes some time to adjust to.

You adapt to something and you adjust to something, so you get used to something. That something is always the object, because adapt, adjust, and to get used to are the verbs.

In spoken English, the immediate focus of the conversation usually determines how the sentence is constructed. So if the focus is the guitar, it comes first in the sentence:

A new guitar always takes some time to get used to.

If the focus is more on the person, the person comes first:

He always takes some time to get used to a new guitar.

Sally always takes some time to get used to a new guitar.

If the focus is on the time it takes:

It always takes some time to get used to a new guitar.

Regardless of the structure, the guitar is the object because it is being adapted to, adjusted to, or gotten used to.

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