'I'm getting used to eating sushi, but I can't get used to using chop-sticks!'
In the past we have looked at used to for past habits: 'I used to play tennis, but now I don't'.
Today we look at a very different meaning for the phrase 'be used to'.
'be used to means 'become familiar with'. For example, imagine that you have recently moved to, let's say, Japan. Because Japan is so different from your home country, you felt a little uncomfortable being there. Everything was new and strange. Then after a while, you started to feel more at home in Japan. You can use this expression:
'It was strange at first, but now I am used to Japan.'
Do you notice the grammar of this phrase?
Subject (I, he, she, we) + be verb (am, is, are) + used to + object (Japan, it)
OK. Let's take you back to Japan. When you arrived you started to take Japanese lessons. Of course, it takes a long time to learn a strange new language. Slowly, your Japanese is getting better, but it's not perfect yet. In this situation we can use:
'I am getting used to speaking Japanese.'
Notice: in the above sentence 'used to' is followed by an '–ing' verb. We do not use infinitive verbs after 'used to' because 'to' here is a preposition.
'getting used to' means that you are not 100% familiar with something, but you will be eventually. It's an ongoing process.
Time for one final trip to Japan. In Japan people eat sushi (raw fish). Imagine that you hate it! You tried it and you don't like it. You can say:
'I can't get used to sushi.'
You know that you will never be able to eat it. In this situation we use this expression:
'I will never get used to sushi.'
Before we move on, we should review:
I am used to… = It was uncomfortable and strange, but now it's fine.
I am getting used to…= It's still a little uncomfortable and strange, but it's getting better.
I can't get used to… = It is still strange and will be in the future!
In questions we can ask:
'Are you used to eating sushi?'