Will You Get Used to Getting Use to It?
by Owen Fourie
American rapper Ice Cube tells us, “and y’all better get use to it,” not once, but many times in the chorus of his song “Get Use to It.”
On the Internet, too, there are many who are saying that we should “get use to” various things such as aliens being here to stay, extreme weather conditions, or a new hair style. Can we really get used to “getting use to it”?
It is good to be aware of the correct usage and to get used to using it in your writing and as you speak.
While the line “and y’all better get use to it” has more than one grammatical error, let’s concede that if “use” had been replaced by “used,” it would have sounded odd. There is such a thing as artistic license, but this still does not make it my favorite song.
Elsewhere, to say or write “get use to it” is certainly poor grammar.
Here are various examples of the better usage of the phrase “used to” to help you in your writing and speaking:
- Even thrifty people who are used to making ends meet, are finding it difficult to cope with current economic conditions. (They are accustomed to living within their income.)
- Before the economic downturn, they used to eat out once or twice a week; now they eat at home all the time. (Dining in restaurants was something they did regularly, but they have stopped doing this.)
- She has changed her hairstyle, so you had better get used to it, or she’ll be unpleasant company. (Instead of regretting the change, it is better to accept her action and live with the result. Note too that although “had” in “had better” is past tense, “had better” is the correct form to use when you give advice about specific present or future situations. Not following the advice will bring bad consequences.)
- I heard that you are going on a watermelon diet. I am sure it will take a lot to get used to it. Do you think it will really work in the long term, though? (After your habit of living to eat, it will demand a lot of determination on your part to adapt to living on watermelon for a while.)
- My aging aunt struggled to keep up with the children on their walk through the park. She is not as young and vibrant as she used to be. (She is no longer the energetic person she once was.)
You should be getting used to it
- This washing detergent doesn’t do a good job anymore. They don’t seem to make it the way they used to. Look at these clothes! They’re still dirty. (Something that was known to perform well is no longer doing a good job. The quality of this product is not as it once was.)
- Being used to his brother’s lack of punctuality, he had no problem leaving for the show without him. (He was familiar with his brother’s habit of always being late.)
- Used he to play rugby? (This is an older form. It is found in British English and in formal speech, but it has lost ground to the more common informal usage: “Did he use to … ?”)
- He used not to enjoy playing golf, but now it seems to be all that he wants to do. (Or, “He usedn’t to enjoy …” This, too, is an older form that has lost ground to the more common “did not use to …” or “didn’t use to …”)
Of course, the word “used” has a life apart from the “used to” form as may be seen in the following examples where its function is indicated in parentheses:
- She bought a used car. (adjective)
- He used a dictionary and a thesaurus as he wrote his essay. (verb)
Is there any use?
If we drop the “d” and deal only with “use,” we may see that it is used as a noun and as a verb.
- Here is an example of its use as a noun. – There it is. Do you see it? “… its use as a noun.” Here, “use” is a noun. What? You want a clearer example of “use” being used as a noun? Try this:
- While conducting his research, he found that he needed more than he was able to find on the Internet and that his use of the library was essential.
- You had better get used to it, especially as you write essays and speak to your English teachers and professors! Use this information to your advantage. Note: Use (verb) this information …
If you are aware of other lyrics that have glaring instances of poor grammar, mention them here for discussion? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.
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