How to Use the Verb GET


Get for a Change in State

Get can indicate a process of change. The change can be related to you, another person or a thing. To understand this better, let’s look at a few examples:

 “I get bored when I watch TV.”

..which means a change from feeling not bored to bored.

Get the cat off the table.”

..a change from the cat on the table to away from the table.

“We need to get some work done.”

..a change from work unfinished to finished.

Get the people here.”

..a change from there to here.

Get can also be used in so many other ways which makes it a tricky verb to master. But if you look at the structure it’s used in, in addition to its different meanings, it could help you understand it better. So, let’s look at a few common structures:

1. Get + noun

When we use get with a direct object (noun or pronoun), it usually means 'receive, bring, obtain or buy'. The exact meaning depends on the object. For example,

“His movie got good reviews.”

“He got some money from his father.”

“I’ll get my jacket and then we can leave.”

“I'm going out to get some wine for the party.”

When using this structure, get can also mean 'understand':

“He never gets my jokes.”

Keep in mind that get can be used with 2 objects:

“He got me flowers.”

“Let me get you a drink.”


2. Get + adjective

When we use get before an adjective, it usually means 'become'. For example,

“The situation is getting worse.”

“Their relationship is starting to get serious.”

“He got annoyed because she wasn’t listening to him.”


3. Get + to

When using this structure, get can mean 'arrive':

“She didn’t get to Montreal till after midnight.”

“I got to work late because of the weather.”

Remember! We never use to with 'home, downtown, here and there'.

“How are you getting home tonight?”

“What time will you get here?”

“I won’t get there until later.”


4. Get + infinitive

When we use get with an infinitive, it can mean 'to have the opportunity to do something'. Let’s look at some examples:

“Do you get to travel much?”

“I didn’t get to see him. He was too busy.”

“ When do we get to meet your new girlfriend?”


5. Get + object + infinitive

When we use get in this structure, it can mean 'to make someone do something' or 'to persuade someone to do something'. So we can say,

Get him to call me.”

“I can’t get her to change her mind.”

“Can you get them to stop talking?”


Remember, in almost every case, get is more common than its alternative, so it’s a very important verb to practice often and understand. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments below.