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Get – 6 rules to this word

Ever wondered why natives always use the word get? Never been able to decode the word? Well, here in this article we have a complete insider’s guide from a native, detailing the rules and the reasons as to why we use this strange word for nearly everything.

 Get + noun/pronoun = ‘obtain’ or ‘receive’ 

  • My mother got a new car. ‘I’ll get you for the drink.
  • Can you get me a drink please?
  • Can I get it (the tab)? Yeah.
  • I got a new phone for my birthday.

Get + adverb particle or preposition = ‘A movement’

  • I got out of the house.
  • Did she get away?
  • What time do you get up everyday?
  • She got home at 15:00. (home is an adverb of direction and a noun)
  • Get out of my restaurant!
  • He got me there.

Exceptions being all idioms, for example; ‘get over’ ‘get off’

Get + adjective = ‘become’

  • I’m getting too old for this.
  • Put your coat on you’ll get cold.
  • Susana got tired of doing exercise.
  • Mariana is getting sick of her science class.
  • You’re getting better every time I see you.
  • The pain will get worse, I’m afraid.

Get + past participle = reflexive and passive meaning

  • My car got worked on the other day.
  • got told to leave.
  • They got invited to a party.
  • Let’s get these dishes cleaned.
  • Samuel got his car worked on.
  • The couple got married in June.
  • The thief got caught thankfully.

Get + gerund (verb+ing) = ‘starting’

  • I’d like to get moving, please.
  • He got him talking over the problem.
  • I’m done with this meeting, let’s get moving.
  • What time will you get finishing today?
  • Get the air-conditioner going, please.
  • We had best get leaving now, we’re feeling tired.
  • Jake got texting his friend so he could see him that night.

Get + infinitive = ‘to have an opportunity’

  • I’m lucky I get to live abroad, very lucky indeed.
  • When will you get to travel to England?
  • They get to see their parents every day after school.
  • I get to travel for my job.
  • Maria gets to read a novel every day.
  • Francis got to sleep in his sleeping bag last night.
  • I always get to eat chocolate on Friday.

English Verbs – The Complete Guide

Lesson #43: Get

The verb ‘get’ is extremely popular in English and has many uses. This verb’s course would not be complete if we didn’t include the verb ‘get’. We’re going to elaborate with examples the six rules to this verb.

Get + noun/pronoun = ‘obtain’ or ‘receive’

  • Can we get a new e-book?1
  • I hate getting the flu.2
  • Sorry, I haven’t got any money, could you get this round? Sure, I’ll get it.3
  • Let’s get a new computer.
  • My brother has got a girlfriend.


  1. Can we get a new e-book? The verb ‘get’ is in bold and the nouns and pronouns are also in bold.
  2. I hate getting the flu. The ‘flu’ is a noun and if you get the flu, you’re literally ‘obtaining the flu’. No one says, ‘obtain the flu’, rather, ‘get the flu’, because ‘get + noun or pronoun = ‘obtain’.
  3. I’ll get it. ‘It’ is a pronoun. To say, ‘I’ll get it’ means literally ‘I’ll obtain it’, so, in this case, the thing being obtained is the ‘round’. (round of beers).

Get + adverb or preposition = ‘a movement’ *many exceptions to this rule

  • We got in the bus.1
  • I love to get home early.2
  • When did you get there?3
  • I wonder how we get from there to there.
  • I want to get away.4,5


  1. We got in the bus. ‘In’ is a preposition, and ‘get’ goes before it, so in this case ‘a movement’ is implied and means literally ‘we entered the bus’. ‘Get in the bus’ sounds much more natural.
  2. I love to get home early. ‘Home’ is both an adverb of place and a noun. Here, ‘home’ is functioning as an adverb of place. ‘Get home’ means to go in the direction of ‘home’, therefor a movement is implied.
  3. When did you get there? ‘There’ is an adverb and ‘get’ is before it so a movement is implied.
  4. I want to get away. ‘Away’ is an adverb and with ‘get’ before implies movement.
  5. It should be noted that with this rule there is a tonne of exceptions to the rule whereby ‘a movement’ is not implied. For example, get off, get on, get along have nothing to do with any movement and for the most part, the construction ‘get + adverb or preposition’ doesn’t always mean ‘a movement’.

Get + adjective = ‘become’

  • You’re getting annoyed, aren’t you?1
  • My grandpa is getting too old for this.
  • I got tired yesterday.2
  • He got angry at me.3
  • Don’t get worse.
  • Get better.
  • Put a jacket on or you’ll get cold.


  1. You’re getting annoyed, aren’t you? ‘Annoyed’ is an adjective and ‘get’ goes before it, so it takes the meaning of ‘becoming annoyed’. It’s better to say, ‘get annoyed’ rather than ‘become annoyed’, although ‘become annoyed’ would be more formal and still used.
  2. I got tired yesterday. ‘Tired’ is an adjective, and when used with ‘get’ takes the sense of ‘become tired’.
  3. He got angry at me. You could also say ‘he became angry’, but ‘he got angry’ is much more commonly used.

Get + past participle = passive or reflexive meaning

  • Michael got the job done.1
  • You’re getting your hair cut.2
  • Get the dishes cleaned,3 please.
  • We’re getting married4 this summer.
  • Don’t get caught.
  • I got thanked5 for my efforts.


  1. Michael got the job done. ‘Done’ is the past participle of ‘do’, and when used with ‘get’ has the sense of a passive meaning.
  2. You’re getting your hair cut. ‘Cut’ is the past participle of ‘cut’ (cut – cut – cut) and used with ‘get’ has a sort of passive meaning. Notice how the object ‘hair’ goes in between ‘getting’ and ‘cut’. It’s very common with this rule (4) to place an object in between.
  3. Get the dishes cleaned. ‘Cleaned’ is the past participle. Literally this sentence means ‘wash the dishes’. The object ‘dishes’ goes in between the verb ‘get’ and the past participle ‘cleaned’. The object cannot go after.
  4. We’re getting married. This could be said as ‘we’re marrying’.
  5. I got thanked. ‘Thanked’ is the past participle of ‘thank’ and here a passive meaning is implied because you can also replace the verb ‘get’ with ‘be’. I.e. I was thanked.

‘Get’ + gerund = ‘starting’

  • When can we get going?1 I’m tired.
  • James and I will get talking soon.2
  • Get leaving, you’ll be late.
  • Get moving!
  • Jaime got finishing his project.
  • Get working, please.


  1. When can we get going? ‘Going’ is a gerund and ‘get’ goes before it, therefore the sense of ‘moving’ is implied.
  2. James and I will get talking soon. ‘Talking’ is the gerund. ‘Get + talking’ = ‘start talking’.

‘Get’ + to + infinitive = ‘to have an opportunity’.

  • My friend, Lisa, gets to travel the world.1
  • I get to work every day.2
  • Unfortunately, we don’t get to go on vacation often.3
  • I got to visit my grandma in Austin, Texas.
  • I get to interview people for my job.
  • James and Sonia get to leave early today.4


  1. My friend, Lisa, gets to travel the world. ‘Get’ + to + infinitive = ‘to have an opportunity. So, the above sentence could literally be said as ‘My friend, Lisa, has the opportunity to travel the world’. But this sounds unnatural and redundant, and it’s thus far easier and less redundant to use ‘get’ + to + infinitive.
  2. I get to work every day. Literally, ‘I have the opportunity to work every day’.
  3. We don’t get to go on vacation often. = ‘we don’t have the opportunity to go on vacation often’.
  4. James and Sonia get to leave early today. = ‘James and Sonia have the opportunity to leave early today’. When referring to someone or something ‘having the opportunity’ it is much better to use the rule with ‘get’ to add less redundancy.

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