When We Get to Thinking about ‘Get’

A private student asked me about the verb get. Most dictionaries have at least a dozen definitions listed, including start, arrive, and become. My student had heard the verb used in phrases like get a move on and get to know. As different as they are, the two expressions share a similar sense of beginning an activity. Let’s get a move on means let’s hurry or let’s start going. When you get to know someone, you’re starting an acquaintance. You’re becoming more familiar with someone.

The student asked about other words fitting the same patterns. I realized that if we only focused on get to combinations, there would already be quite enough to talk about for the time being. One tricky thing is that we have get to + noun phrases: get to sleep, get to bed, get to school, get to work, and we have get + infinitive phrases like get to know and get to do. First, students would have to distinguish between the nouns and verbs. Then they could start to consider different meanings.

If you’d like to challenge your students with two short tasks targeting collocations with ‘get,’ check out my Get To_handout

Photo credit: Thinking, Person, Person, Thinking by Robin Higgins. Retrieved from the Public Domain at https://pixabay.com/en/thinking-person-person-thinking-2681494/.

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