"Get" is one of the most frustrating AND most frequently used verbs in the English language. My students always groan and say, "Why do you use 'get' for so many things?!" I know it's challenging, and I wish there were an easy and quick way to master "get." It's going to take time and memorization, but we're okay to start working on it together today!

It's okay if you don't feel comfortable using "get" in your own speech immediately, but it's really important that you're able to recognize its different meanings to help with your listening comprehension. Remember, "get" is irregular in the past tense, so don't be surprised when you see "got" in the guide below.

8 of the Most Common Uses of "Get"

  1. To obtain or buy
    • Example: She went to the grocery store to get some food.
    • Example: He gets all of his technology from online sites like Amazon.
    • Example: I got my driver's license when I was 16 years old.
  2. To receive something or to receive attention
    • Example: The movie got really good reviews!
    • Example: I hope I get a new jacket for Christmas.
    • Example: I got the most thoughtful presents for my birthday this year.
  3. A change in mood, frequently used in a negative way (usually used with adjectives)
    • Example: Please don't get angry with me!
    • Example: I got annoyed when he arrived two hours late.
    • Example: She gets upset when her sister when she borrows her clothes without asking.
  4. To arrive to your destination
    • Example: We got to Buenos Aires at 7 PM.
    • Example: I'll get there a little late. Sorry for the delay!
    • Example: She got here five minutes ago.
  5. To bring, to go find something
    • Example: Could you please get me a fork?
    • Example: I'll go get my phone, and then we can leave!
    • Example: Let me run and get my car from the parking lot. I'll pick you up at your house in ten minutes.
  6. To score or make a point or goal
    • Example: She got three goals in the first half of the football game. It was amazing!
    • Example: My daughter got a 7 on her last exam.
    • Example: I got 50% of the questions right. I need to study!
  7. A change in mental or physical state.
    • Example: I got really sleepy and fell asleep during the movie.
    • Example: Whenever I visit an art museum, I get inspired to try painting or drawing!
    • Example: If I drink more than five drinks, I get really drunk.
  8. To become sick
    • Example: I've got a terrible cold! I've been coughing and sneezing for days.
    • Example: Be sure to wash your hands frequently so that you don't get sick. 
    • Example: I think I'm getting sick... I have a really sore throat and a stuffy nose.

Common Phrases with "Get"

  • I get it! - I understand
  • Do you get it? - Do you understand?
  • Get ready. - Prepare yourself.
  • I'll get the bill. - I'll pay for the bill.
  • I'll get this one. - I'll pay this time.
  • To get rid of something - to throw away (Example: I got rid of all my old clothes.)
  • I've got your back. - I support you.
  • To get home - to arrive home (Example: I get home at 5 PM every evening.)
  • To get to work - to arrive to work (Example: I get to work at 8 AM every morning.)
  • Get a job - to obtain employment (Example: I got a new job! I'm so excited!)
  • Get your act together! - become organized about something

Common Phrasal Verbs with "Get" 

  • Get on - to board a bicycle, bus, boat, plane, or train
    • Hurry, get on! The train is about to leave.
  • Get off - to leave a bicycle, bus, boat, plane, or train
    • I'm excited to get off the plane. I'm tired of traveling.
  • Get along (with) - to be friendly with someone
    • I get along really well with my in-laws. 
  • Get up - to leave your bed in the morning
    • I usually get up at 8 AM.
  • Get together - to meet other people to socialize
    • Example: Let's get together this Saturday at Miguel's house!
  • Get ahead - to advance
    • If you get your master's degree, you're more likely to get ahead in your field.
  • Get over - to recover from sickness or a challenging emotional situation
    • It took three months, but he finally got over the breakup.

Example Paragraph Showing Different Uses of "Get" 

I got sick three weeks ago. I got really frustrated because I had been sick for so long. Finally, I went to the doctor to get some medicine. I had to wait at the clinic for a really long time. I got to the clinic at 10 AM, and I didn't see the doctor until 1 PM. Thankfully, I got some antibiotics! I always get sleepy when I take antibiotics, so I had to stay home and rest the whole day. I finally got better, but it was a long and frustrating process.

What were the different uses of get?

  1. I got sick. - #8: to become sick
  2. I got really frustrated. - #3: a change in mood, frequently used in a negative way
  3. I went to the doctor to get some medicine. - #1: to obtain
  4. I got to the clinic at 10 AM. - #4: to arrive to your destination
  5. I got some antibiotics. - #2: to receive
  6. I get sleepy when I take antibiotics. - #7: a change in mental or physical state.
  7. I finally got better! - #7: a change in mental or physical state.

Written by Mariah Wika