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Get - Got

Get - Got

 

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Get and Got

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use the very versatile (and sometimes confusing) verb "to get". We will also learn how to use the past tense form "got".

The verb "to get" has many meanings. It is sometimes used to mean to receive. When it is used in this way, we can say "Jennifer gets many birthday presents every year." or "David gets a good salary.".

Another meaning of the verb "to get" means to obtain or take for someone's purpose. When it is used in this way, we can say "David will get the milk out of the refrigerator." or "Jennifer will get peas at the grocery store.".

Another meaning of the verb "to get" means to cause or to cause to become. For example, we can say "Jennifer gets her hair cut every four weeks.".

Another meaning of the verb "to get" means to hear or to understand correctly. When we use the word "get" in this way, we can say "I didn't get your name. Can you say it again?".

Another meaning of the word "to get" is to understand. When we use the verb in this way, we can say "I don’t get the joke.". The verb "to get" also means to capture. We could say, for example, "The dog ran away before we could get him.".

Sometimes the verb "to get" means to receive a punishment. For example, we could say "The criminal got five years in prison.". Sometimes the verb "to get" means to prepare. For example, we could say "Jennifer gets dinner after work.".

The verb "to get" sometimes means to arrive at a destination. For example, we can say "This afternoon, I will get home late.".

The verb "to get" also means to be enabled or to succeed or to be permitted. For example, we could say "You will get to meet the president." which means that you will have the opportunity to meet the president.

The verb "to get" also means to become or to reach a certain state or condition. When we use the verb "to get" in that way, we could say "If you eat too many cookies, you will get sick.".

Sometimes we use the verb "to get" to mean to begin an action. For example, as we begin to leave, we can say "Let's get going.".

The simple past tense of the verb "to get" is "got". All of the sentences we have already seen can be stated in the simple past tense by using "got" in the affirmative or "didn't get" in the negative. For example, we can say "Jennifer got many birthday presents last year." And "David got the milk out of the refrigerator.". In the negative we can say "I didn't get the joke.", which would mean I didn't understand why the joke was funny.

The word "got" is sometimes used rather informally with "to have" to mean: to have something, or to be in possession of something. For example, we can say "I have got two tickets to the football game." Or "He has got a new pair of jeans.". This construction is often used incorrectly by children and others who perhaps do not hear the "have" or "has" in the expression. For that reason, we often hear this incorrect usage in expressions like this: "I got two tickets to the football game.".

When the expression is used incorrectly, it is not always possible to know whether the event is happening now ("I've got …") or whether it happened in the past ("I got …"). This expression is never used in a formal way and is never used in writing. Because of the confusion, children and other might mistakenly say "Do you got my book?"* which should be "Have you got my book?". Since this usage is so confusing, it is better not to use it, but you should recognize it if you hear it.
Now that we know many of the meanings of this versatile verb, let us listen to a dialog.

David: What time do you think you will get home?

Jennifer: I have a lot of work to do, so it will be late. Should I get something at the deli on my way?

David: No, I can get dinner at home.

Jennifer: What have we got to eat?

David: We've got chicken and rice.

Jennifer: I'm getting hungry already.

David: You should get to work!

David starts the conversation by asking Jennifer "What time do you think you will get home?".In this sentence, he uses the verb "to get" with the meaning of to arrive at a destination. He could have asked "What time will you arrive at home?" or "When are you coming home?".

Jennifer says "I have a lot of work to do, so it will be late. Should I get something at the deli on my way home?". In this sentence, Jennifer uses the word "to get" to mean obtain. She could have said "Should I pick up something at the deli?" or "Should I buy some food at the deli?".

David assures Jennifer that he can prepare dinner at home when he says "No, I can get dinner at home.". In this sentence, the verb "get" means to prepare.

Jennifer asks David "What have we got to eat?". Jennifer means to ask what the possibilities are for supper, so she wants to know which foods they have at home. She could have said "What do we have?".

David answers "We've got chicken and rice.". He could have said "We have chicken and rice.".

Jennifer says "I'm getting hungry already.". She uses the word "getting" to mean becoming. She could have said "I'm hungry already.". While she could have correctly said "I am becoming hungry already.", this expression is not used. David would have understood her, but he would have thought the expression sounded strange.

David says "You should get to work!". David means that Jennifer should begin working. He could have said "You should get busy!'".

Now that you have heard the dialog and have learned to use the verb "to get" in many different ways, let us listen to the dialog again. While the verb "to get" is very common, it would probably not be used in every single sentence of a conversation as it was in this one!

David: What time do you think you will get home?

Jennifer: I have a lot of work to do, so it will be late. Should I get something at the deli on my way?

David: No, I can get dinner at home.

Jennifer: What have we got to eat?

David: We've got chicken and rice.

Jennifer: I'm getting hungry already.

David: You should get to work!

Wonderful! There are many uses of the verb "to get". You can increase your vocabulary exponentially by learning to use this versatile verb. "Your English is getting better!".