The verb “to get” is one of the biggest headaches for learners of English. It just doesn’t seem easy because of the variety of functions it has in the language.
But it is easy, and at Lingua Language Center we are going to explain it to you in the simplest way possible so that you can get motivated to learn English once and for all.
Meaning of the verb “to get”
As a word, get has many meanings. In the face of such variety, it is normal that there is confusion, but here we will explain them so that you will never doubt again.
Get – obtain or find
The first meaning, and perhaps the most commonly used, is to obtain or get, two words that are so close that they can generally mean the same thing.
I need to get a ladder so I can paint the ceiling.
I need to obtain/get a ladder so I can paint the ceiling.
Where did you get those shoes?
Where did you find those shoes?
How did you get that accent?
Where did you obtain that accent?
I need to get apples and oranges at the grocery store
I need to obtain/get (in this case it is interpreted as “buy”) apples and oranges from the store.
Get – receive
Receive is another meaning of Get. Here are some simple examples. If you see that the verb tense of get changes (e.g. to got), don’t worry: below you will find the conjugation of the verb in its entirety.
I got a letter in the mail from my grandma.
I received a letter from my grandmother in the mail.
I really hope I get a skateboard for Christmas
I hope to receive a skateboard for Christmas.
We only get what we give.
We only receive what we give.
Get – bring
Traer is the third meaning of the verb get.
Get me my purse.
Bring me my bag.
Do you want me to get you a donut?
Do you want to bring me a donut?
Get – attend to or take care of something
Get the door!
Answer the door!
I’ll get the check!
I’ll take care of the bill!
Let’s get you taken care of.
We are going to make sure you are well / We are going to take care of you.
Get – catch, seize, seize
This case is both complex and simple. In Spain, it would be called pillar or coger, and in Latin America it would be like agarrar in the sense of contagion.
I got the flu.
She went camping and got lice.
I was working on it but I got too tired to finish.
Get – Understand
In the case of get translated as understand, it could be understood as obtain, but more towards grasp or acquire information.
I don’t get it.
I don’t understand that.
She just gets it.
By the way, it is important to clarify that get + it means understand in all cases, except when we add the word go at the beginning.
Go get it.
Go for it!
Get – Get out
When get means to get, it refers to getting good or bad grades. However, this can also be understood literally as getting: getting good or bad grades.
I need to get good grades this semester.
Get + a place
In these cases, get means to arrive or to reach.
We’ll get to Miami on Thursday.
How are you getting home tonight?
We got back to my house at around 2 AM.
What time should we get there?
What time should we arrive?
Get over here.
Come over here.
Get + adjective
When get is accompanied by an adjective, it represents a change of state and its meaning varies.
It’s getting dark.
Get + dark = to go dark.
Get + drunk = to get drunk.
I don’t get drunk very quickly.
I don’t get drunk easily.
Get + to
When get meets to, it has more than one meaning. The first is “to have the opportunity for something”.
I’m so glad I get to be your mom.
I am so happy to have the good fortune to be your mom.
Get + to + person
This means to have a strong effect on someone or something.
That movie really got to me!
Her little brother really gets to her.
Her little brother has a strong effect on her.
Get + to + it
This means “start doing something”.
Well, there’s no time like the present so I guess I’ll get to it!
Well, no time like the present so I guess I’ll get started.
Get + the person + to
Here, get means to persuade or convince.
Can you get her to sign the papers before she leaves?
Can you persuade her to sign the papers before she leaves?
To all the above meanings of the verb to get, we should add the phrasal verbs. But, for now, let’s review the ones featured in this article.
Conjugation of the verb “to get”.
Present simple – Get / Gets
Present continuous – (to be) + Getting
Present perfect – (have/has) + Gotten (Got in British English)
Present perfect continuous – (have/has) been + Getting
Past simple – Got
Past continuous – (to be) + Getting
Past perfect – had + Gotten (Got in British English)
Past perfect continuous – had been + Getting
Future continuous – will be + Getting
Future perfect – Will have been + Getting
Conditional – Would + Get
Continuous conditional – Would be + Getting
Learn how to use the verb to get speaking in English
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