Top Ten Uses of Get

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The verb 'to get' is used in many senses in English and can be confusing at times. Here is a list of the top ten uses of 'to get' with simple explanations and example sentences. Of course, these are not all the senses of 'to get'. In fact, there are many phrasal verbs with 'to get'. This list is meant to give intermediate level learners the main senses of this important verb.

Sense 1
get = acquire, buy, come into the possession of something

She got a lot of paintings from her uncle.
They got a new pet.
Get your results the next day.
I got my computer at the Apple store.

Sense 2
get = become, to change into a state, often used with adjectives

He got annoyed when he heard the bad news.
It must be getting more serious.
Janice has gotten much more open in her attitudes.
Please don't get angry with me!

Sense 3
get = receive a present, obtain attention

I got some clothes for Christmas.
His movie got a good review.
I got some books from my girlfriend.
What would you like to get for your birthday?

Sense 4
get = arrive, reach a destination

She got home at 7 o'clock.
She didn't get to Chicago until after midnight.
I got to work late because of the weather.
I won't be able to get there until later. 

Sense 5
get = bring, fetch, go and bring or take back

Get me those books over there, please.
Could you get the wine?
Let me get the shovel and we'll go to work.
I'll just get my phone and then we can leave.

 

Sense 6
get = experience, undergo, of mental or physical states or experiences

He got an idea. 
She gets vertigo when she looks out the window.
They get nauseous when they drive.
Peter got frightened by what he thought was a ghost. 

Sense 7
get = make, score, achieve a point or goal

Nicklaus got a 70 on that extremely difficult golf course.


The Brazilian team got 4 goals.
She got 29 points that day.
Anthony got 12 rebounds during the game.

Sense 8
get = contract, take, be stricken by an illness, fall victim to an illness

He got a horrible disease while he was traveling. 
She got pneumonia and had to go to the hospital.
She got a cold from Tom.
Unfortunately, I got ill from drinking the water while on vacation. 

Sense 9
get = induce, stimulate, cause, make someone do, cause to do; cause to act in a certain way, always followed by an object 

My children finally got me to buy a computer.
My wife got me to pay attention to the speaker.
The class got the teacher to postpone the test. 
I wish I could get them to take me seriously!

Sense 10
get = pay back, take vengeance on or get even

We'll get them! 
That'll get him good!
This time I got him.
Just wait until I get you!

Get Uses Quiz

Decide how 'get' is meant in the following sentences. 

  1. I got three As last semester. - be striken by / become / score
  2. Peter has gotten serious about his studies. - arrive / cause / become
  3. They got their father to buy them a new horse. - bring / acquire / cause 
  4. We got three books for our new library. - experience / cause / receive
  5. Jane got the flu from her students last week. - arrive / experience / contract
  1. Could you get me the paper? - receive / fetch / take vengeance
  2. I got spooked by all the talk of revolution. - experience / fetch / become
  3. I got some excellent advice on the new job. - bring / receive / cause
  4. She promised to get him some day for all his bad behavior. - pay back / fetch / acquire
  5. John Handersohn got 32 points and 12 rebounds during the game last night. - become / score / arrive

Answers

  1. score
  2. become
  3. cause
  4. receive
  5. contract
  6. fetch
  7. experience
  8. receive
  9. pay back
  10. score

There are also a wide range of idioms and expressions with 'get' and numerous phrasal verbs with 'get'.