2
  1. to get used to something

  2. to be used to something

These two expressions seem to be the same. Please tell me what the difference is and in what situations i can use each of them. I only know that after these expressions we can use either a noun (as a subject) or gerund (as an action).

1

Used in "be used to" and "get used to" mean "familiar with someone or something through experience" in both the cases.

I'm not used to eating so much at lunchtime.

I found the job tiring at first but I soon got used to it.

As linking verb, get means "to reach a particular state or condition."

You'll soon get used to the climate here.

Compare the following sentences.

She is used to getting what she wants from her parents. It still is happening.

I was used to having an headache after eating fishes. It doesn't happen anymore.

She left the television on while she was sleeping. I got used to this after a while. I gradually become used to this; nothing is said about this being still true.

Get used to this: After you do it, their voices will be less boring than birds singing at 5 AM every day.

Notice that used to has a different meaning; it is used when describing an action or state of affairs that was done repeatedly or existed for a period in the past.

This road used to be a dirt track.

I used to give him lifts home.

The difference is that be/get used to describes something with which you are familiar through experience. In most of the cases, you cannot replace one with the other one.

This road was used to be a dirt track.

  • Can i change this "I was used to visiting her at least once every year" for "I used to visit her..." – Natalie Milan Jul 17 '13 at 5:37
  • I like your explanation that we use to get when an event happens gradually. Very nice, thanks. – Natalie Milan Jul 17 '13 at 5:44
5

It may help to focus on the verbs of the two phrases. To be is a state and to get (here synonymous with to become) is an action.

So:

I am used to the traffic outside my house at night

means that I am in a state of not being disturbed by the traffic. Whereas:

I hope I get used to the traffic outside my house at night

means I hope I will enter (action) the state of not being disturbed.


Bottom line:

  • If you are used to something, then you are already familiar with it or have enough experience of it.
  • If you get used to something, then you do not yet have full familiarity or experience with it, but you are in the process of developing this familiarity and experience.
  • Sorry, it's not so clear for me to see a huge difference... – Natalie Milan Jul 17 '13 at 5:41
  • 1
    @Natalie, If you are used to something, then you are already familiar with it or have enough experience of it. If you get used to something, then you do not yet have full familiarity or experience with it, but you are in the process of developing this familiarity and experience. Maybe you could post an example or two containing the two phrases, where you are unclear why the writer has chosen that particular phrase over the other? – Shoe Jul 17 '13 at 6:38
0

Subject + auxiliary be + used to + verb + ing

  1. I wasn't used to drinking wine when I first came to Greece, but that's changed now.
  2. I am used to drinking wine at lunchtime.
  3. I was used to drinking wine at lunchtime but now I usually drink water.

In 1. the speaker is talking about her initial experience of drinking wine. It was a new for her and she needed time to change her habits.

In 2. She now drinks wine every day, she is used to it.

in 3. The speaker expresses a past habit that is no longer true in the present.

Subject + (auxiliary) + get + used to + verb + ing

  1. I can't get used to drinking wine at lunchtime, it makes me feel sleepy.
  2. I'm getting used to drinking wine since I have been living in Greece.
  3. I got used to drinking wine at lunchtime, while I was living in Greece.

In 1. The speaker is talking in the present, expressing her difficulty to change her habit. There is a sense of change, a transition period. As Kiamlaluno correctly states:

As a linking verb, get means "to reach a particular state or condition."

In 2. The speaker is expressing the transition period, her becoming more accustomed to the culture of drinking wine during meals. She is half-way there so to speak.

In 3. The speaker is talking about her experience of drinking wine while she was living in Greece. She can now comfortably drink wine during the day without feeling sleepy.

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