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English Verb “To GET” & How To Use It in Phrasal Verbs, Expressions & More!

English verb to get

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I love simple, short English verbs such as TO DO, TO PUT, TO GET and others – the reason being: the same verb can be used in a huge number of different situations thus making it possible for you to communicate about A LOT without spending a lot of time on learning massive amounts of new English vocabulary!

Just look at how the simple verb TO GET replaces other words:

Do you understand me? – Do you GET me? (As a matter of fact, this is what you should say when asking people if they understood what you’ve just said – a lot of foreigners overuse the verb “to understand”!)

How much do you earn? – How much do you GET?

Will you arrive on time? – Will you GET there on time?

Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that you didn’t know the words “to understand”, “to earn” and “to arrive”. If that were the case, you’d hardly be able to formulate the above questions without using the word TO GET, and it just goes to show how effective it is to learn how to…

Use One Word in 100 Different Ways Instead of Learning 100 Different Words!

Well, obviously I’m not trying to discourage you from learning more English words and widening your vocabulary, it’s just that I’ve always believed it’s much easier to learn to speak English fluently with limited vocabulary and THEN learn more words.

Unfortunately, so many foreign English speakers (I was one of them, by the way!) are trying to build massive vocabularies believing that it will somehow make them fluent while in reality nothing could be further from the truth …

Anyway, let’s stop beating around the bush and here’s all you’ll ever need to know about the English verb TO GET! 😉

Use TO GET with Adjectives to Describe Transition from One State to Another

Here’s a typical example:

To GET drunk.

Not that I would condone alcohol abuse (as a matter of fact, drinking makes it harder for you to speak fluent English) – it’s just that this is a very popular phrase and it vividly illustrates what I’m trying to explain here – transition from one state (sober) into another (drunk).

Basically it’s when you describe an emotional or physiological change, and here’s the simple formula of how it’s done:

TO GET + adjective:

  • To GET angry – “Why do you always get angry when dealing with people?”
  • To GET sick – “I rarely get sick but when I do, I have serious symptoms so I can’t go into work for a week or so.”
  • To GET bored – “I get bored easily and that’s why I could never have a mundane, boring job.”
  • To GET annoyed – “It’s hard not to get annoyed with people contacting you on Facebook all the time, so the only option is the turn off the chat.”
  • To GET lucky – “You’ll have a spot reserved in the local soccer team if you show very good results, and if you get lucky – you might even play at a national level!”

You can actually say that in this context the verb TO GET acts as the verb TO BECOME – it’s just that TO GET sounds better in these kind of phrases than TO BECOME. Why? Well, it’s just the way native English speakers speak, and it’s actually not good for your fluency to ask too many WHY questions!

Use TO GET in Conjunction With Pretty Much ANY Past Participle

… to describe the process of something or someone achieving a certain state described by the Past Participle.

And here’s a crash course into Past Participles if you’re not sure what they are: it’s the 3rd form of any verb created by adding -ed at the end of the verb (for most verbs) or in case the verb is irregular, you just have to learn the Past Participle off by heart (such as “gone”, “done”, “seen” etc.) – just make sure you learn them via expressions as opposed to learning words strings such as “bring, brought, brought”, for example!

So, the formula is very simple:

TO GET + Past Participle:

  • To GET accused (of something) – this phrase can be used when someone accuses you of doing something wrong, basically you’re being blamed for something: “I got accused of stealing from my boss – but I never did it!”
  • To GET married – self-explanatory, isn’t it? “My best friend Charlie is getting married next week, and I’m his best man!”
  • To GET lost – this phrase can actually be used in two different situations – when you get lost and can’t find your way home, or when someone tells you to get lost and by that they mean they don’t want to see you:
    • “I got lost while hiking in the wilderness, it took me 8 hours to find my way back to the car…”
    • “I don’t ever want to see you again, get lost!”
  • To GET chosen means that you’re being chosen for something, for example: “I always get chosen as a leader, but I actually never ask for it.”

So far we’ve covered using the verb TO GET with conjunction with adjectives and Past Participles in order to describe changes of physical (get chosen, get banned) or mental (get excited, get angry) nature.

Now let’s look at popular…

English Phrasal Verbs Containing the Verb TO GET

Get across – this phrasal verb describes the process of successful communication, basically when you’ve been able to explain something to another person, you can say that you’ve gotten the message across: “I was trying really hard to get the message across to all people in the audience, but I’m not sure if I succeeded…”

Get by – when you’re struggling financially and you’re barely able to pay the bills and put food on the table, you can use this phrasal verb to describe the situation: “I can barely get by, so it goes without saying I can’t afford another electricity price increase!”

Get along with – to be successful at something: How are you getting along with your new position as a grocery store supervisor?”

This phrasal verb can also be used when discussing relationships – in this case it means to be on good terms with someone: I can’t get along with my younger brother, we’ve been fighting each other ever since I remember!”

Get over – to overcome some mental issue, to deal with a problem that’s been troubling you: “I broke up with my girlfriend six months ago, but I still can’t get over the emotional pain.”

Get down – this English phrasal verb means to become emotionally affected in a negative way: “Sometimes people at work are so annoying that it gets me down big time, and that’s when I really start hating my job.”

English Idiomatic Expressions With the Verb TO GET

Here’s a few idioms that I personally use all the time and you’ll also find them quite handy in your daily English conversations and spoken English practice:

Don’t get me wrong – this idiom can be used when the other person has misinterpreted what you’ve said and now you want to reassure them of your good intentions: Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to intimidate anyone, I’m just making sure nobody neglects their work duties!”

Get the drift – to get the general idea of what’s being said. Here’s an example: “Anyway, I hope you get the drift, but if you’ve any questions – just let me know!”

Get the full picture – to understand something fully: “I’m going to have to explain a few more aspects of the World War II so that you get the full picture of how it affected our country’s history.”

Get the most out of – this idiomatic expression means to receive the most benefits from a certain activity or object: “I believe everyone should go travelling for a year or two to get the most out of life.”

Get rid of – this popular English idiomatic expression means to discard something you don’t want: “I want to get rid of all the old stuff I have in my attic, so this weekend I’m going to do some cleaning up there!”

Get around to – when you finally have some time to do what you’ve been meaning to do for a long time, this idiom is the right one to use: “Finally I’ve gotten around to writing my thesis, I hope I can get it done in a week’s time…”

Get the better of – you can use this idiomatic expression when describing some emotions overcoming you to the point where you can’t resist them, for example: “I allowed my anger to get the better of me and as a result I shouted at my 4 year old daughter – now I feel really bad about that…”

From the get-go – this idiom contains the word GET but it’s not used as a verb in this case – it’s part of a noun GET-GO which means a BEGINNING. This is a very useful expression though, and I personally use it all the time: “You should have been putting more effort into your studies from the get-go, now that the school year is drawing to an end it’s too late!”

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So, did you find this article of any use?

Or maybe you have more questions about the verb TO GET and how it’s used in the English language?

Then don’t hesitate to ask me a question in the comments section at the bottom of this page!

Robby

P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!

P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hi Abhisek,
    Can you please specify what EXACTLY you’re not sure of when it comes to the verb “to be”? Surely you can use it in certain situations such as saying things like “I am” and “you are”, right? So please specify what it is exactly that confuses you!
    Regards,
    Robby

  • Abhisek Mishra

    This site is almost a complete package of basic requirements and even more. Respected sir. I can speak English, but i want to brush up my vocabulary skill in a short period of time. I always have a doubt regarding the usage of the word “be”. Moreover it creates more confusion when it comes to “being”.

  • Thanks for the positive feedback Rupa, I really appreciate it and I’m glad my blog has been helpful in your quest for English fluency!

  • rupa kumari

    thanku sir to create such a wonderful site. its really helped me to increase my fluency.

  • Now that’s a great spin on the whole thing, you just inspired me to write an article on it, thanks so much!

    I’ll let you know when it’s published, I hope it will go live within the next week or so.

    Chat soon,

    Robby

    P.S.

    Here’s a couple more links to related articles, I’m sure you’ll find them useful:
    http://englishharmony.com/to-put/
    http://englishharmony.com/thing/

  • Vaison

    I like this topic. A while ago somebody told me that actually English, as a language, is boring. People always use the same short words and verbs such as “get”, “make”, “take”, “have”, “meet”, “come”, “go”, and so on!!!!! and how English speakers avoid long words (laboratory —–> lab) and verbs such as latin verbs and replace them with phrasal verbs because latin verbs are LONGER.

    When I don’t know which is the right word or expression to use, I think “Surely it will be a “take” or a “have” or a “get”…etc”

  • I’m glad Victor you like my blog, keep reading and if you’ve any questions – just let me know by posting another comment or contacting me here: http://englishharmony.com/contact-me/

  • Victor

    I am browsing this site for about five minutes, and it seems to me I eventually got what I have been looking for. Thanks a lot.