Part 1: Basic uses of “to get” (VIDEO)

The verb “to get” is one of those verbs that has so. many. uses.

Let’s break down two of the basic uses in this first lesson in my three-part series. (The written version of the lesson is below the video.)


get + noun (direct object)

When paired with a direct object — a noun or a pronoun — “get” usually means “receive,” “catch,” “obtain,” or “fetch.” Here are some examples:

  • I got a message from my boss this morning. (“received”)
  • Will you come and get me after my doctor’s appointment? (“fetch,” “pick up”)
  • I get a cramp when I jog for too long. (“receive”)
  • I got a promotion at work. (“received,” “obtained”)

Sometimes there are other meanings of “get + noun” that are fixed expressions:

  • I don’t get it. (“I don’t understand.” “To get [it]” means to understand something.)
  • I got it. (This can mean either “I understand,” or signal to other people that you can manage a situation. For example, saying, “I got it!” and raising your hand after the teacher asks a question means that you can answer the question.)
  • I’ll get you for this! (“I will punish or hurt you.” Think of “I’ll get you, my pretty!” from the Wizard of Oz.)

get + adjective

When it comes before an adjective, “get” often means “become.”

  • My eyesight gets worse every year!
  • Would you close the window? It’s getting cold.

When you have “get + object + adjective,” it means to “make somebody / something become…”

  • Can you get her ready for school? (=Can you make her be[come] ready for school?)
  • I can’t get my feet warm! (=I can’t make my feet become warm!)
  • Let’s try and get the house clean before the party. (=Let’s try and make the house become clean…)

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week with a lesson on “get + adverb / preposition” and “get + past participle.”

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