logologo
23
DEC
2014

9 ways to use the verb “to get”

In English, there’s no escaping this little verb. There are only 3 letters in “get” but it’s a very important word in English. Do you know its different meanings? What exactly do “Do you get what I mean?”, “I’ll get John to do it”, or “We got to the meeting late” mean?

questionSure, in all of these sentences the key verb is “get”, but each time it has a different meaning. “But I can just replace it with an easier word like “understand”, “ask”, or “arrived”” I hear you saying already. Yes, you can, but if you listen to or read English, you can’t avoid it. For better or for worse, “get” is ranked as the 39th most frequent word in English. So it’s time to get your head around “get”.

The examples above demonstrated 3 different meanings of the verb, but there are about a dozen in all. Oh. yay.

Don’t worry. We’re going to clarify things so that you can understand the different meanings. You’re going to start getting “get”!

After reading these explanations and examples, you can test yourself with the quiz on the different meanings of the word.

Meaning 1: receive

Did you get that information from the director?

We got the instructions from headquarters to reduce the prices.

Meaning 2: arrive, reach a destination

What time should we get to the meeting?

I’ll probably get to the office at 10 o’clock tomorrow.

Meaning 3: buy, acquire

The company wants to get new furniture for the lobby.

I think I’ll get something to eat from the café for lunch.

Meaning 4: fetch

I got the client’s file.

I’ll go get Jack, he might have the answer to your question.

Meaning 5: become

It’s getting late, so I think I’ll go home now.

The boss got really happy when she saw our sales figures from last year.

Meaning 6: have something done

We got the copy machine fixed, finally!

Do you think we could get these documents typed before tomorrow?

Meaning 7: have a score

The company’s environmental policy got a good score during the audit.

What did you get on your evaluation?

Meaning 8: begin having an illness

I got a headache from looking at my computer screen all day.

Smoking increases your risk of getting lung cancer.

Meaning 9: convince, push someone to do something

I think we got the management to accept our requests.

We got William to take care of the Indian visitors. He speaks English well.

Do you think you got it?

Take the quiz and find out. Do you think you’ll get a good score?

Match each sentence with the definition of “get” as it is used in that sentence.

1. We can’t get any new equipment this year because our budget is too limited. convince
2. We need to get more organized if we’re going to finish on time.  have a score
3. Can you go get Angie, I need her help. begin having an illness
4. I don’t think we’ll get to the office before 8:30. Traffic is really bad. have something done
5. “Nice purse.” “Thanks, I got it for my birthday last year.” receive
6. What classification did we get in Forbes magazine this year? fetch
7. When did you get that cough? become
8. I got them to postpone the meeting to next week. buy, acquire
9. We got the reports typed and printed yesterday.  arrive at

Answers:

We can’t get any new equipment this year because our budget is too limited. buy, acquire
We need to get more organized if we’re going to finish on time. become
Can you go get Angie, I need her help. fetch
I don’t think we’ll get to the office before 8:30. Traffic is really bad. arrive at
“Nice purse.” “Thanks, I got it for my birthday last year.” receive
What classification did we get in Forbes magazine this year?  have a score
When did you get that cough? begin having an illness
I got them to postpone the meeting to next week. convince
We got the reports typed and printed yesterday. have something done

Written by Christina Rebuffet

Christina Rebuffet has been coaching clients to better communicate with their colleagues from her home country, the United States, since 2004. To help clients have easier, more effective conf calls in English, she recently created The Conf Call Confidence Pack. You can find more tips and resources for communicating better in English at christinarebuffet.com.

Comments

comments

  1. Roslyn Young Reply

    I think ‘get’ has a generic meaning. I consider ‘get’ to be the opposite of ‘be’. ‘Be is the verb of state, ‘get’ is the verb of change.
    Examples:
    I’m single. I’m getting married. I’m married.
    I’m undressed, I’m getting dressed. I’m dressed.
    (At the beach) You should put on your tee-shirt. You’re getting burnt.
    Johnny is standing on the table. ‘Get down’ = Do what’s necessary so that you are down.
    I drive up beside you in my car. ‘Get in’ = Do what’s necessary so that you are in. (What’s necessary will be different according to whether I drive a Jeep or a Porsche.)
    I’ve just got a new car. I’ve lived through the process: bank loan, choice of model, choice of color, horse power, etc

    Most sentences which use ‘get’ can be understood in this way.

    • Soad Louissi Reply

      Thanks Roslyn. That’s very helpful!

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