Do you think you will get this?

In our latest academic blog, our amazing teacher Tom gives you a comprehensive overview of how to use that omnipresent English word – get. Keep on reading!

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“If you get to the BBQ before I do, try and get to the front of the queue and get a couple of burgers before they get cold!”

Get get get get get!

You might have noticed that native speakers of English tend to use the word ‘get’ all the time. Why is this? What does it mean in these cases?

Native speakers love the word ‘get’ because we can use it to replace so many other words! Let’s take a look at five different examples, and soon you will be speaking like a native!

Become

One of the most common ways to use ‘get’ is to mean ‘become’: If there is some kind of change happening, we can often use get! Look at these examples:

‘London usually becomes cold in September.’

‘If you leave your coffee for 20 minutes it will become cold.’

‘Messi is a good footballer, but he’s becoming old now.’

These sentences are fine, but they might sound a little formal! We can make them sound much more natural like this:

‘London usually gets cold in September’

‘If you leave your coffee for 20 minutes it will get cold’.

‘Messi is a good footballer, but he’s getting old now.’

Much better!

Arrive

Another very common use of ‘get’ us to replace ‘arrive’:

‘I usually arrive at work before lunch.’

can also be:

‘I usually get to work before lunch.’

Notice the change in preposition! While ‘arrive’ uses the preposition of place (arrive at the airport/arrive in London), ‘get’ uses the preposition of movement (get to the airport/get to London). If we use ‘get’ with ‘here’ or ‘there’, then we don’t use any preposition! (What time are you getting here?)

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Acquire/Receive

This is an interesting one because this can replace quite a lot of similar verbs, such as win, earn, and buy (basically situation where before you don’t have something, and after you do).

I got a bike for Christmas. (receive)

He gets $125,000 a year. (earn)

I got £50 from a football bet. (win)

I went to the supermarket to get some bread and milk. (buy)

Understand

We can use ‘get’ to mean ‘understand’, both in positive and negative situations!

For example, if your friend tells a joke and everyone laughs except you, you can say “I don’t get it”.

‘I don’t get why this artist is so popular’

‘The party is at kgsnfsogihn@^&$*’

‘…Sorry, I didn’t get that, could you say it again?’

‘I need to to take this to room 45B, get this signed, then bring it back to me. Understand?’

Got it.’

BE (passives)

In passive forms, we usually use the verb ‘be’:

‘Coffee is grown in Colombia’

‘His leg was broken in the crash.’

‘Don’t leave your phone there, it will be stolen!’

In casual speech, and especially in situations where something bad or negative happened, it is common to use ‘get’ instead of ‘be’.

‘His leg got broken in the crash’.

‘Don’t leave your phone there, it will get stolen!’

So why don’t you try to get some more ‘get’ into your English? Try using ‘get’ to replace these verbs, and see how it feels! It might be hard at first, but it gets easier!

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