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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.

Either way, you must learn it. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is the fifth most used verb in the entire English language, and it is also among the 50 most used words.

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.

She understands.

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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