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12 Ways to Use the Verb “Get” in English

I was in the middle of a Skype lesson with a client today when he asked me in an exasperated voice: “How many meanings does the verb “get” have?” before telling me how frustrating learning English was.

I have to agree with him that the verb “get” can be extremely irritating to language learners. There are in fact 12 different meanings to the verb. Instead of using the proper verbs, native speaker of English prefer to take the lazy route and use just one verb. Sorry, folks.

So, here are the 12 ways (or meanings) for Get. They are all common and are given in approximate order of frequency.

1. Obtain / receive / be given

His wife got a new job./ I got an email from Frank yesterday./ You’ll get the chance to travel.

2. Buy Something

I got this shirt from Ralph Lauren.

3. Become

It’s getting late - I have to go.

4. Bring Something (Fetch)

Will you get me a cup of coffee?

5. Get Something Done/ Fixed/ Finished

I can get the report finished by 5pm. / He managed to get my emails working again.

6. Make Somebody Do Something (Persuade)

I’ll get Susan to give you a call later today. / We tried to get them to agree to our proposal, but they refused.

7. Move

I need to get this table into the conference room./ I got into Marketing three years ago.

8. Arrive at a Place

We got to the airport just on time to catch our flight.

9. Make Progress

I am not getting anywhere with this report.

10. To fit/ put something into place

I can’t get everything into my suitcase.

11. Understand

I’m sorry, I didn’t get that joke.

12. Travel by/ Catch

I got a taxi to the airport. / I got here by train.

So there you have it. I hope this makes it clearer to understand. Good luck!

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Ciao for now.


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