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The Uses of Get

The Uses of Get

The Uses of Get

Get is quite possibly the most difficult aspect to the English language. The reason is, while it has dozens of colloquial uses in the form of phrasal verbs like: get down, get together, and get along. Another reason is that we also use get to replace other verbs like: acquire, receive, become and provoke.

«I get paid on Friday» or «I get my paycheck on Friday.»

  • To get paid – get + adjective
  • To get my paycheck – receive + noun

So, with this in mind, we can use get when speaking about feelings: get nervous, get excited, get scared. We also use get when we talk about receiving a thing: get a letter in the mail, get a raise at work, get lunch with a friend.

But there are a few other contexts that GET might replace another verb. Let’s take a look.

To acquire or receive something – «I got the best birthday present this year.» «I got an email from Sarah today.»

To become (feeling!) – «I got annoyed with all the loud noise.» «I always get car sick on long drives.»

To arrive – «What time did you get home last night?»

To fetch – «Would you please get my purse for me? It is by the front door.»

To understand – «I didn’t get the joke.»

Finally, the most difficult part is understanding the context.

If I say, «Did you get it?» It could be referring to a thing, like, «Did you get the job?» Or in another context, it could be referring to a joke that you didn’t understand. So context is key!

Then of course we have our phrasal verbs. Here are few of the ones we use the most.

More literal meaning: Get on/off/ – the bus, the plane. «We got on the bus at 10:00 A.M.»

Get over – to overcome. «My sister is angry with me for forgetting her birthday but she will get over it.»

Get along – to have a friend relationship with someone. «I get along really well with Vanessa.»

Get through – to endure something, usually difficult. «This year has been difficult, but we will get through it.»

Get off – to have the audacity to do something. «Where do you get off calling me a bitch?!»

Get together – to have an intimate meeting. «The whole family got together for dinner tonight.»

Get back together – to have a reunion – «Did you hear? Susan and Matt are getting back together!»