The different uses of -GET-
THE DIFFERENT USES OF “GET”
By Tran Thi Toan
Get is one of the commonest words in English, and is used in many different ways. It is sometimes avoided in a very formal style, but it is correct and natural in most kinds of speech and writing. The meaning of get depends on what kind of word comes after it. With a direct object, the basic meaning is ‘obtain’, ‘come to have’; with other kinds of words, the basic menaing is ‘become’, ‘come to be’.
I.Get: basic structure
1.Get + noun/ pronoun: with a direct object, get usually means ‘ receive’, ‘obtain’
Ex: I got a letter from Lucy this morning.
2.Get + adjective: getting old
Before an adjective, get usually means ‘become’
Ex: As you get old, your memory gets worse.
With object + adjective, the meaning is ‘make somebody/ something become’
Ex: It’s time to get the kids ready for school.
We must get the house clean before mother arrives.
3.Get + adverb particle or preposition: get out
Before an adverb particle (like up, away, out) or a preposition, get nearly always refers to a movement of some kind.
Ex: I often get up at five o’clock.
4.Get + past participle:
Get can be used with a past particle. This structure often has a reflexive meaning, to talk about things that we ‘do to ourselves’. Common expressions are get washed, get dressed, get lost, get engaged married/ divorced,
Ex: You’ve got five minutes to get dressed.
Get + past participle is also used to make passive structures, in the same way as be+ past participle.
Ex: My watch got broken when I was playing with the children.
6.Get ...ing, get + infinitive:
Get…ing is sopmetimes used innormally to mean ‘start… ing’, expecially in the expressions get moving, get going
Ex: We’d better get moving- it’s late.
With an infinitive, get can mean ‘manage’, ‘have an opportunity’
Ex: We didn’t get to see her- she was too busy.
7.Got and gotten:
In British English the past participle of get is got. In American English the past participle is gotten.
II.Get + Object + Verb form:
1.Causative: Get + Object + …ing means ‘ make somebody/ something start …ing’
Ex: Don’t get him talking about his illnesses.
2.Causative: Get + Object + infinitive means ‘make sb/ st do st’ or ‘persuade sb/st to do st’
Ex: I can’t get that child to go to bed.
3.Causative: Get + Object + past participle can mean ‘cause st to be done by somebody else’. The past participle has a passive meaning.
Ex: I must get my watch repaired.
4.Experience: Get + Object + past participle can sometimes be used in the sence of ‘experience’
III.Get and Go: Movement
Go is used to talk about a whole movement
Get is used when we are thinking mainly about the end of a movement- the arrival.
Ex: I go to work by car
I usally get there first.