Take “get in” for example. We can use this as an imperative, such as a mother telling her child to get in out of the rain. Or maybe to tell someone to “get in” to a car. But it can also be used as a ‘prepositional’ verb meaning to gather in or to bring in something. Such as getting in the washing from the clothesline.

‘Get over’ is an interesting one as it can be used literally or figuratively. Literally it can mean to reach the other side of something like a wall. In the army, your sergeant might to tell you to get over the wall and secure an area. Rather than going around it, of course. But figuratively it can be used when you have experienced a problem or a bad situation and a person wants you to forget about it. If you recently broke up with your girlfriend, a friend might tell you to “Get over her. She isn’t worth worrying about anymore.”

Similarly, we can use ‘get through’ in both ways as well. You can get through a tunnel and come out the other side or in a more figurative sense you can continue to work your way through a problem or a tough job and complete it. Your boss might say “We have to get through to the end of the month and then we will have some more money coming into the company.”

‘Get back’ was once a hit song for The Beatles, but what they really meant was ‘go back to where you once belonged’. You can also ‘get something back from someone’, meaning to reclaim something that was once yours. It can also be used as an imperative by someone trying to protect a person from danger. A fireman might tell people to “Get back from the fire. Something might explode.”

A lot of times, the word ‘get’ can be used in imperatives. ‘Get out’ for example means I want you to leave. ‘Get up’ means I want you to either leave a seat or maybe even your bed if you were sleeping. ‘Get down’ is used for when you are on something that you probably shouldn’t be standing or sitting on. When I was a child if my mother raised her voice while using any of these imperatives, I was pretty sure that I would be in trouble if I didn’t do what she said.

So as you can see, the word “get” is very useful in English for conveying many different things that we might want to say. I have only really scratched the surface here, as there are many, many more uses available.

K. Charles

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Kym Charles
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