Difference Between “Use to” “Used to” and “Get used to”

What is the difference between ” use to”, “used to”, and “get used to”. This is quite understandable as the words sound alike and look alike. In this article I will tell you about the difference between ” use to”, “used to”, and “get used to”.

Recently while waiting for all the students to join my online class, one the students asked me if I had eaten breakfast. I replied that I ate at 5.30. He was surprised that I wake up so early every day. I replied that I have been doing that since I was 13 years old, so I am used to waking up early.

He then asked if I ate fried bacon and eggs like English people do. I replied that I used to eat bacon and eggs, but now I just eat a little fruit and a piece of bread.

Later he told me that now that he is studying at home, he is getting used to sleeping until 9 am or even later.

I use “Used to” in three different ways in the above passage.

be used to

get used to

used to

Let’s see the different ways in which I used these phrases.

Let’s start with the first paragraph and the last paragraph, because these two expressions are related.


To Be Used To

I am used to waking up early.

This means that I am accustomed to waking up early, or it is normal behavior. The verb “be” can take the present, past or future tense. The words “used to” are an adjective, not a modal verb.

Hint: If you look for( or listen for) the verb “to be” before “used to” then it will always have this meaning.

Another example:

“I have lived in Thailand for many years now, but I am still not used to the hot weather”.

Here we have the negative version “I am not used to”

To get used to

“he is getting used to sleeping until 9 am”   this means that the action is becoming less unusual or strange. When he studied in the classroom he had to wake up at 7 am, but now he sleeps to 9 am most days.

The verb “get” in the phrase can take the past, present or future tense.

Also note that the following verb takes the “ing” (gerund) form.

Used to

“I used to eat bacon and eggs”  This happened regularly in the past, but doesn’t happen now.

The modal “used to” is found ONLY in the past tense and is used to describe repeated actions in the past that don’t happen now. It is also used to describe an action that took place over a long period of time but has stopped now.

I used to live in London, but now I live in Bangkok.

Note the negative form:

I didn’t use to like spicy food, but I do now.

We add “did + not” to make it a negative phrase and the verb “use” does not change tense as the verb “did” is already in the past tense..


I often hear some Thai people say something like “I used to go to London.”

I am quite surprised and ask then When did you go? How many times did you go?”. To which they reply “Oh only one time, 5 years ago”.

This is the wrong use use of “used to”. Used to means that you did it often or regularly. I think the reason some Thai people say like this is because they translate directly from Thai (เคยไปลอนดอน) to English.

Try not to translate, but think in English. The correct sentence is ” I have been to London.”


Exercises: Try this exercise (the link will take you to an external site)