How to Use the Word GET in English

Every language has one of those words that you hear all the time, but it’s used in so many different ways that it can be really confusing. In most cases, the translation of this word doesn’t make any sense, or you wouldn’t use this word the same way in your native tongue. In this video article we’re going to learn about one of the English language’s most commonly misused and often misunderstood words, GET.


The word “get” always leaves people in doubt, and it can be very frustrating for the average English learner. The problem is that their are so many expressions and phrasal verbs that use the word “get” that it can be very confusing. Let’s take a look at some literal meanings.

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6 Uses of the Word ‘Get’

The word “get” is so commonly used as a substitute for many words. A lot of the time when we use “get” it makes it less formal and it’s a lot more common in spoken English. Here are some examples of the 5 most common substitutions.

GET = BECOME (before adjectives)

When used before an adjective, the word get is a common substitution for the word become. This means that you are starting to become that adjective.

  • If you don’t eat now you will get hungry later
  • He got really angry when I told him I was leaving
  • she is getting really skinny


The word arrive sounds formal when used in conversation. Arrive would be commonly used at airports/ travel arrangements or in a serious business setting. In normal situations we tend to use “get”.

  • What time did you get there?
  • I’ll ring him when we get to the park


This is a common mistake amongst Brazilians. Usually a Brazilian would use the word, “win” (Ganhar) in this case. In English “win” would only be used in regards to a prize or a competition/game.

  • I got some cool presents for my birthday
  • I got an email from my friend in Australia
  • She always gets paid on Thursday


The word “buy” is used when you’re specifying the fact that you purchased something. If that’s not so important we substitute it for our good friend “get.”

  • I got a new suit to wear to the conference.
  • They got their instruments from the U.S.A.


This is simply an alternative way to say understand. You will here this more so in informal conversation but it doesn’t sound rude or inappropriate if it is used in a formal setting.

  • Do you get what I’m saying?
  • I don’t get it/ Got it!


In other words this meaning of “get” is when you leave where you are to collect (fetch) something and come back. A lot of people use the word take in this case which would be incorrect.

  • Can you get me a glass of water?
  •  I’m going to get her from work.
  • I’m going out to get some milk.

Expressions with GET

These are some of the most common, out of many. For more a more extensive list of expressions with “get”, check out this link To get along with- to have a good relationship with someone or a group of people.

  • I get along really well with my co-workers
  • He doesn’t get along with his in-laws

To get over something-  to no longer feel bad, frustrated, or sad about something.

  • I’m getting over the chicken pox
  • He’s still getting over his bad break up with his girlfriend

To get rid of-  to be relieved of something in you life by giving it to someone or throwing it away

  • I’m trying to get rid of my old car but no one wants to buy it
  • The boss got rid of all the unnecessary office equipment

To get to know someone- to be in the phase of learning about a person and becoming friends with them; to be starting to know all about a person, city, or even a product or service.

  • I would really like to get to know your sister
  • I’m getting to know the city really well
  • I should start getting to know how to use this program

To get by- to be able to survive with the limited supply or knowledge of something that you have.

  • I make just enough money to get by
  • My Spanish isn’t so good but I can get by

So now that you know the uses of the word get, go out and put it to test. Try identifying the different uses of get while watching a movie, T.V. show or listening to some music or podcasts. Hopefully you will start to get how we use get little better, take advantage of all the online English resources and get excited about learning. That’s enough “gets” for one day, If you have any questions or feedback feel free to comment. Until we meet again Real Life English readers.

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  • Gladson Two Bad says:

    Hey guys!
    Very nice this tutorial video.
    Thank you very much!



  • Rodrigo says:

    Well done, Chad!

  • I have improved my english a lot. thank!

  • Wescley says:

    Very good! I got it!
    Thanks Chad.

  • Thank you very much. It is really very helpful.

  • nice and useful

  • Bilal Momani says:

    Thanks too much
    nice and useful

  • Manuel Manuel says:

    Great article.

  • After this article I am getting better with get 🙂 Thank you Chad!!!

  • Caroline Pinheiro Kotowiski says:

    It's a really nice explanation! Thank you!

  • Caroline Pinheiro Kotowiski says:

    Fernando Kotowiski, veja!

  • João Leite says:

    Every monday when I read your articles it’s a way I have to refresh my English and I get better and better. Cheers!

  • João Leite says:

    Just to add something else, as I’m fluent in French, Spanish and Italian, I’d love to see this job you have done so well in other languages. See you!

  • Thank you very much Chad i got it very useful

  • Asad Kakar says:

    thanks that is so beautiful article

  • Pedro do Vale says:

    Excellent Chad! Thanks!

  • N A Tejaswini says:

    Thanks a lot . It was helped me to know how and when to use the get word.

  • Slavik says:

    Hello every one. I’m glad to read this article. It’s very cool and free for understanding. Thanks.

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      We’re glad you liked it, Slavik!