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The verb ‘GET’: 7 facts

‘GET’ is the protagonist of the series “Get a Life!”. In order to get to know it better, let’s take a closer look at it.

My students frequently ask me,

What is GET about? I just can’t make sense of it.
I feel native speakers use GET for everything – but what does it even mean?

7 facts about the verb GET

  1. GET is the fifth most frequent verb in English after be, have, do and say.
  2. It is more natural to use GET in informal speech, rather than Latin verbs like arrive, persuade or obtain.
  3. It is irregular: get-got-got (AmE: get-got-gotten).
  4. It rarely stands alone.
  5. It is an “empty” (delexicalised) verb: It usually needs the company of other words to come to life and have a meaning.
  6. It usually teams up (forms collocations) with
    • nouns
    • adjectives
    • prepositions
  7. GET often indicates a change:
    • With a noun, it can mean obtain, receive, buy or catch.
    • Together with an adjective, it describes a change of state or emotion.
    • In combination with a preposition of place, it talks about a movement.

Got curious? Want to know more? Then start to read the series Get a Life!

Get a Life! – The series



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