Stage 4 Stage 5

Today I am going to talk about the verb ‘get’ and explain some of its meanings and give you some examples of each, thus making it easier for you to understand.

The general meanings of the verb ‘get’ are ‘become’ and ‘obtain’. However, it has several other meanings too. When we follow ‘get’ with by an adjective, it means ‘to become’. For example, if you say «I am getting tired» it means that you are becoming tired. If you say «they get hungry when they work hard» it means that they become hungry when they work hard. If a mother says that her child is getting tall, it means that the child is becoming tall. We must be careful when to use ‘get’ with the meaning of ‘become’ and when not to. For example it is quite common to hear a child say that they want to become a doctor or a lawyer when they get older, but we cannot say «I want to get a doctor when I get older». This would be totally incorrect to say.

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Another meaning of the verb ‘get’ is ‘to obtain’. When we follow the verb ‘get’ with a noun it can mean ‘to obtain’. For example if you say «we get our food from that supermarket» it means that you ‘obtain’ or ‘buy’ your food from that supermarket. Another example of this is to say «we get milk from a cow», which means we obtain milk from a cow.

We can use the verb ‘get’ with the meaning of ‘to receive’. If I say that I got lots of cards on my birthday, it means that I received a lot of cards on my birthday. If you say that you got an e-mail from a company yesterday, it means that you received an e-mail from a company yesterday.

Instead of using the verb ‘to earn’, we can use the verb ‘get’. For example «he gets about €1,400 a month», means that he earns €1,400 a month. If I say that she gets €8.95 an hour, it means that she earns €8.95 an hour.

If you ask somebody to get something for you from a place, it means ‘to bring’ or ‘fetch’ something from a place. «Get the table from the next room» means fetch the table from the next room. If I ask somebody to get the pen that is on the table, I am asking them to go and fetch the pen that is on the table.

The verb ‘get’ can also mean ‘to capture’. For example if I say that the police got the criminal before he managed to escape, it means that they captured him.

We can use the verb ‘get’ with the meaning of ‘catch’ or ‘take’ too. If I say that I get the same bus every day, it means that I catch the same bus every day or I take it every day.

We can also use the verb ‘get’ with another sense of the verb ‘to catch’. For example if you catch a cold, you can also say that you get a cold. If I say that I didn´t come to work because I got the flu, it means that I didn´t come to work because I caught a cold.
If you want to check that somebody understands something, you can ask them if they ‘get it’. This means the same as asking them if they understand it.

If you are not sure when to use the verb ‘get’, you should use the verb of the same meaning. It is better to use a word that you know than a word that you don´t know, but don´t worry about making mistakes because that is how you will learn.

Go and practise these different uses of the verb ‘get’!


G. Harman

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Glenn Harman
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