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The different uses of -GET-
22-01-2014

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.

5.Passive auxiliary:

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.

___________The end____________

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