How to use GET

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Get is a power word in the English language.

There are so many different meanings. This might be confusing for you as an English learner. But it’s important to learn how to use this word.

In this lesson, you’re going to learn 10 of the most common ways this word is used.

The key to all of this is to learn the sentences. That way, you will internalize this word and how to use it.

10 Ways to Use the Word GET in English

Here are the ways in which we use get in English. Read the definitions and the examples.

Gain possession of / buy

Look behind me. Recently, I got some new things for my office. I got these fake plants, neon light, wall decorations… this means that I bought these things. Here are more examples:

What did you get for your birthday?

I’m thinking about getting a new car soon.

I haven’t got my wife anything for Christmas yet – I’m starting to panic!

To become ill or have an illness

Yes, you can say "catch a cold" but it’s more common to say "get a cold". Here are more examples:

I’ve got a cold

She keeps getting sick

I’ve got a bit of a headache today.

To obtain and/or bring something to someone

This is something that is used a lot at home. For example:

Could you get me a tea?

Could you get me the remote?

If you have time, get me some bananas on your way home (first conditional)

Get some breakfast and then we’ll go

An alternative here is "to bring up / down". For example, "could you bring me up a cup of tea?"

To hear or to understand

"Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana". You can respond to that by saying, “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite get that.”

I don’t get what you mean. Could you explain that again?

I didn’t quite get that – could you speak up?

To become (change)

This is really useful. Look at this example:

It’s getting dark

It’s not dark now but it’s changing from light to dark. We use get to talk about a change.

Your tea’s going getting cold. I’d drink it now.

It’s getting hot out there.

Yawn. I’m getting tired.


A good example of this is this one:

What’s wrong with you? Why are you hobbling?

I stubbed my toe getting into bed.

Here are more examples:

Get down!

Get your hands out of your pockets.

I stubbed my toe getting into bed

Let’s get outside – it’s beautiful out there

To leave public transport

After you get on a train you… get off it.

Let’s get off here

Where do we get off if we’re going to Big Ben?

Get off at the next stop

This can be a little confusing. Because you get out of a car but get off a train. You get in the car but on a train.


Now speaking of traveling, when you arrive at your destination, you can use get here too.

When is David going to get here?

When mum gets here, turn off the TV, okay?

Come on, let’s get going, we’ll get there really late otherwise.

I hope my package gets here today.

To Receive or Be Given Something

Let me know what you get in that quiz

I got my hair cut yesterday – what do you think?

I got my acceptance letter yesterday!

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