Part 3: Basic uses of “to get” (VIDEO)

Welcome to part three of my series on using the English verb “to get”!

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 here. The text of this lesson is below the video.


passive structures

Last week, we learned that one use of “get” is to add the past participle to talk about reflexive actions.

But another version of “get” + past participle is used to make passive structures, just like “be” + past participle. For example:

  • He got caught speeding. (=He was caught speeding.)
  • I get paid every Friday. (=I am paid every Friday.)
  • My car got broken into last week. (=My car was broken into [burglarized] last week.)


get + …ing; get + infinitive

Using “get” + a verb ending in “-ing” can be used to mean “start” + “-ing.”

  • Let’s get moving!
  • I need to get going. I’m going to be late.

When paired with an infinitive, it can mean “to manage,” “to have an opportunity,” or “to be allowed.”

  • The baby was sleeping, so we didn’t get to see her. (=We didn’t manage to see her.)
  • Do I get to meet your boss today? (=Will I have an opportunity to meet your boss?)

This same structure can also indicate a gradual development of something.

  • She’s nice once you get to know her. (=…once you become acquainted with her.)
  • He’s getting to be a great salesman. (=He’s becoming a great salesman.)

Like other uses of get, these usages are common in conversation, and are slightly more informal.


Do you have questions about using “get”? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Part 2: Basic uses of “to get” (VIDEO)

Last week, we discussed two of the basic uses of the verb “to get.” Here’s part two of my three part series! The text of the lesson is below the video.

get + adverb particle or preposition

When “get” is followed by an adverb “particle” (which together often make up things like phrasal verbs) or a preposition, “get” almost always refers to movement.

  • I always get up at 7 a.m. (get up = awaken & exit the bed)
  • The old man yelled at the children, “Get out!” (get out = leave, exit)
  • This is my train stop; I’m getting off here. (get off = exit [train or bus])

For some phrases or idioms, the meaning is a little different:

  • She can’t get over her cold. (to get over something = to recover from)
  • What time will you get to my house? (to get [to a place] = to arrive at)


get + past participle

When “get” is paired with a past participle, the meaning is often reflexive. This means that the action of the verb is something that the subject does to him / herself.

  • I’m getting married next month. (= I will be married next month.)
  • My bus leaves in 5 minutes! I need to get dressed! (=I need to dress myself.)
  • I got lost when I was in London. (=I was lost; I found myself lost.)

Like last week’s uses of “get”, these are all used very frequently in conversation and sound natural. They are used in casual conversation, but are not impolite or slang, and can be used with anyone.

Do you have questions about using “get”? Let me know!

Tune in next week for Part 3!

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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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How to use “afraid”

The word “afraid” can be used in a couple of different ways in English, which might be confusing for learners. Read on for the two main ways to use “afraid,” and how to use them in conversation.

[Listen to the audio version of this lesson here.]

afraid = fear

One meaning of “afraid” is the same as the word “fear.” “Frightened” and “scared” are other synonyms of this meaning of “afraid.”

It’s almost always used with a form of the verb “to be.”

For example:
Are you afraid of spiders? = Are you scared or fearful of spiders?
She’s afraid (that) her mom will find out. = She’s frightened or scared (that) her mom will find out.
I’m not afraid to speak in front of people. = I’m not scared to speak in front of people.

I’m afraid = I’m sorry

Another meaning of “afraid” is similar to “sorry.” People say “I’m afraid…” or “I’m afraid that…” to mean “I’m sorry to say that…” Saying “I’m afraid (that)…” is a polite way to give bad news or to apologize for something.

For example:
I’m afraid that I don’t know. = I’m sorry to say that I don’t know.
I’m afraid I’m going to be late. = I’m sorry to say I’m going to be late.

In addition, you can respond to certain questions or statements with “I’m afraid so,” or “I’m afraid not,” to mean “I’m sorry to say that is correct,” or “I’m sorry to say no.” For example:

A: Can you loan me some cash for lunch?
B: I’m afraid not. (I’m sorry to say no.)

A: The flight is delayed.
B: I’m afraid so. (I’m sorry to say that is correct.)


What about you?

Can you use both of these versions of “afraid” today? Leave a comment about how you used it!

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