One of the most commonly used verbs in English is the verb “get.” Many of my students come to me looking confused by the verb “get.” They realize it is used constantly in spoken English with prepositions, nouns and adjectives, but they aren’t quite sure how to use “get” confidently when they speak English. I wrote this post to help my English language students understand how to use “get” just like Native English speakers when they speak English.
Get for Personal Change
#1: We use “get” to describe a change of state or a transformation
Get is used to describe a change and the word “become” is a synonym for the way “get” is used in many of these cases. You can use the verb to describe a change of emotions or a state of being. For example, “I got really tired yesterday after lunch.” or “I get angry when I watch the news.” You might hear, “I usually get fat in the winter” or “I get skinny in the summer,” both examples show some type of physical change.
Also, when you go through the transformation of being a single person to getting married, you would use “get married” to describe the change in relationship status. The same would be true for divorce because we “get divorced,” but I want to stay positive here and focus on all of the love in the air.
Get for Friendship
#2 We use “get” for describing common activities with friends.
When I first came to Spain, I noticed people commonly said, “Let’s take a coffee.” They were directly translating from Spanish, where the verb “take” is employed for drinks, coffee, and snacks. However, Native English speakers use “get” to invite someone for a coffee. For example, “Would you like to get a coffee?” or informally, “Wanna get a coffee?” In this case, “want + to” is strung together in spoken English and pronounced “wanna.” In addition, my students also ask for ways to talk about meeting up with their friends. For informal encounters with friends, you can use “get together.” “I am going to get together with my friends after work.” Or, it can be used as a noun and you can say, “We are going to have a little get together with some of our friends,” which is like a small gathering of people.
Get for Work
#3 We use “get” to describe hiring, firing, and promotions.
When we improve our position at work, we get a promotion. It is always great news when this happens and we tend to call our closest friends and family members and tell them about the promotion we got. On the other end of the spectrum, if we get fired, we have to share some unfortunate news to our family and friends because we lost our job. Even this could be the worst turn of events in our life, we could get hired at a different company and as one door closes, another door opens.
Get for Travel
#4 We use “get” for transportation and for moving from one place to another.
You can get a bus or get a train or a plane. You can also get a taxi or a boat. When you enter these vehicles, you “get on” them. You get on a bus when you enter and step inside. The same applies to planes, trains, and cars.
We often use “get” informally, but oftentimes there are more exact words for these same actions. For example, you can get a cab or you can hail a cab, which would be a more specific way of describing waving a cab down. You can also “catch a bus” or “board a plane,” which is just like getting a bus or getting on a plane.
It is always better to be as specific as possible to describe what you are doing and where you are going when you travel, but when in doubt, use the verb “get” and when you reach your destination you could consider getting a hotel for the night and staying a few days in a warm, exotic place.
Get for Illness and Recovery
#5 In English, we use get to describe all sorts of ailments and illnesses.
As I write this blog, we are experiencing one of the worst pandemics in history (The Coronavirus: COVID 19). Everyone around me is staying inside to avoid the disease from spreading even more. In this case, nobody wants to get sick. People are afraid of getting ill and getting the virus. People who have the virus often get a fever and they sometimes get a dry cough. The good thing is that a high percentage of people who get ill from the virus also get over the illness and recover. Despite this fact, the rising death toll is shocking and disturbing. I hope we get through these tough times not only as a country, but as a global community as well.
You can read and learn more about phrasal verbs with Get here.
You can read about how to use “got it” to show you understand something here.
In conclusion, there are so many great ways we can use “get” to improve our fluency. I didn’t even mention using get to talk about obtaining items at the store. Many times, we ask someone, “What did you get?” instead of “What did you buy?” So, consider incorporating this important verb in your life, your English lexicon, and your daily routines. When you get up tomorrow morning, consider getting a cup of coffee and adding a little “get” into your life.
I invite you to add a comment to the comments section. How do you use “get” in other ways in English? Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have about using this verb correctly!
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Get for Fluency
Take this quiz and see if you know how to correctly use the verb "get" accurately in spoken English.