Updated: Jan 30
This article is about a versatile verb ‘get’. It has many different meanings and uses which confuse quite a few students.
I’m sure you rather use traditional verbs than ‘get’ phrases, right? Native speakers use these phrases in conversation much more, though. So, you should give them a go too. I’m sure you have heard them in films or some podcasts too. Don’t they sound cool?
In this article, I am going to try to show you some examples how ‘get’ can be used.
‘Get’ can have the following meanings:
· get an e-mail, get a present, get an award, get a parcel
I got new headphones.
Have you got my email?
· get a taxi, get the bus, get the train
Monika gets the bus to work.
We couldn’t get a taxi because it was a remote area.
· get a job, get a flat, get shoes, get something for a good price
We had to get a new approval for the project.
Could you get more coffee?
· get + adjective or get + comparative adjective
· get married, get divorced, get tired, get angry, get dark, get lost, get cold, get better, get worse, get used to
Our boss is getting divorced, so he is a bit moody.
The situation can’t get any worse.
I didn’t get the joke, sorry.
Mike didn’t get what I said, but he was still nodding in agreement.
6 Arrive at/in
· get home, get there, get here, …
· get + to + a place: get to work, get to the theatre, get to school
How did you get home? Your car is in the garage.
We got to Zanzibar after more than 26 hours. What a long journey!
Rex, get the bone. Come on! Go and get it!
Could you get me some ice-cream, please?
As you can see, there are a lot of phrases instead of which you could use different verbs such as:
get better = improve
get worse = deteriorate
These one-word verbs are important to keep in memory too. If you need to write in a formal way, these one-word verbs need to be used instead of the ‘get’ phrases.
‘Get’ can be also found in combination with other words such as off/out/in/up. When looking up their meanings, they need to be considered as one verb. The phrasal verbs, the different combinations, have different meanings. So, keep your eyes open and check if there is something after ‘get’.
Here are some examples of phrasal verbs with ‘get’:
get on – enter a bus, train, bike, boat, or plane
get off – descend from a bus, train, bike, boat, or plane
get up – leave your bed in the morning
get in - enter a car, swimming pool or container
get out – exit from a car, swimming pool or container
get back – return
get over – recover from a sickness or difficult situation (e.g. a break up)
get by – manage
get at = try to suggest something without saying it directly (What are you getting at?)
= manage to reach (I put biscuits up here where the kids can’t get at them.)
get across – successfully communicate and idea
get ahead in – be more successful than other people
get through – make contact with
get away with – do something without being caught or punished
get on/along with – have a good relationship
get together = meet, spend time together (also about sexual/romantic relationship)
‘Get’ can make a passive structure too. However, it is more informal than the normal passive construction (be + past participle). It is often used to talk about bad or unexpected things that have happened. This passive form with ‘get’ is NOT used when we describe who or when something was done.
Our car was damaged yesterday. --> Our car got damaged yesterday.
Our children were caught stealing veggies in our neighbour's garden. --> Our children got caught stealing veggies in our neighbour's garden.
GET + OBJECT + PAST PARTICIPLE
In informal spoken English, we can also use this structure instead of have + object + past participle to say that someone else does something for you (mostly about favours or services)
Eliska got her wedding dress tailored.
We’re going to get the website set up by a professional.
Joseph needs to get his beard cut. It’s too long.
We’ll get our house refurbished. Everything is shabby.
GET + OBJECT + TO INFINITIVE
This phrase means 'make', 'tell', 'persuade', or 'ask' sb (to) do something.
I'll get my secretary to call you asap.
We got them to sign the contract after hours of negotiation.
GET USED TO
It is used to talk about the process of becoming accustomed to or familiar with something.
More here: https://www.terceflmc.com/post/used-to
If you still do not have enough, check out more phrases with ‘get’:
gotta = got to = have to >> I gotta go. / I gotta pay the bills somehow.
have got to = have to >> I have got to help those kids.
- more informal than ‘have to’
- used in American but more in British English
American English – have got – only for possession
get – got – gotten
British English – have got (present perfect) used frequently
get – got – got
get down to business = begin working
get it together = improve one’s performance/ become calm and in control of your emotions
LINKS WHERE YOU CAN PRACTISE THESE PHRASES: