“Get” as a Verb
Alone, “get” usually means to obtain, bring or contract something. It points to a noun but isn’t always required to sit next to it.
“We will get some ice cream.”
“Get the newspaper, Fluffy.”
“I got my new slippers on sale.”
“Dress warmly or you’ll get a cold.”
“Get” as a Phrasal Verb
Word combinations using “get” are plentiful; many are nearly impossible to define in context and must be explained. They vary wildly, and some even have multiple meanings.
To remove something, including oneself.
“I’ll get off the bus downtown.”
“We will get your luggage off the plane.”
“Spider! Get it off of me!”
It can be used to show avoidance of something negative.
“He was pulled over for speeding but was lucky to get off with a warning.”
“Though the storm was terrible, most got off with little damage.”
“Get off” can also refer to leaving work.
“I get off at 4 pm.”
This is one of those rude combinations with many meanings. Notice how the two words can often be separated.
Entry: “Get in the car.” “It’s raining; get in the house.”
Arrival: “When will Betty’s train get in?” “Did you get in alright last night?”
Application or submission: “Get your tax forms in by April.”
Bring inside: “Get your bike in before it snows.”
Admission: “Bubba applied to Harvard but didn’t get in.”
Elected: “If you don’t get a lot of votes, you won’t get in.”
Plant: “I’ll get those tomatoes in this weekend.”
A unique use of “get in” shows an inability to say or do something.
“I couldn’t get a word in because she was talking so quickly.”
“The weather went south and we could barely get any work in.”
(Bonus phrasal verb: “went south” means the weather became bad.)
Return: “Ann will get back at noon.”
Recover: “We will get back the money that was stolen.”
Revenge: “I will get back at him for putting that spider on me.”
This can be physical or abstract avoidance or can indicate travel.
“We couldn’t get around the fallen tree.”
“Kids find ways to get around the rules.”
“Many use bikes to get around.”
Movement: “The pioneers needed to get over the mountains.”
Recovery: “He will get over his cold.”
Overcome: “Get over your fear of spiders.”
“Get Away (With)”
Physical escape, escape of consequences, vacation or demand.
“Wild horses often get away from cowboys.”
“Criminals shouldn’t get away with crime.”
“The Mercers plan to get away this weekend.”
“Get away from me with that spider!”
A FUN NOTE for animal fans: as a noun, “get” is the offspring of a male animal, such as a stallion (male horse). When his offspring look or perform like him, he is said to “stamp his get.”
“The Morgan’s get were small but strong.”
“‘Man o’ War’ stamped his get; countless champions fill his bloodline.”