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‘Get’ is a word that also confuses people because it means so many things, but if we cut it into 4 sections it becomes (gets) easier to understand:
1. Get = Llegar
‘Get (to..)’ is the most common way of saying ‘llegar’. People often learn the word ‘arrive (in/at…)’, but it is used differently:
- What time does the train arrive?
- What time does the train get to London?
As a general (not grammatical) rule, when you mention the destination it is much more common to say ‘get’. Use arrive when you do not mention where.
Note: The preposition is ‘get TO’, the same as ‘Go TO’, but when we say ‘llegar a casa’ o ‘ir a casa’ we do not use ‘to’
What time do you usually go/get
2. Get = hacerse, ponerse, convertirse…
Followed by a preposition, ‘get’ has the sense of ‘becoming’. Look at this example-
- ‘We´re trying to get (llegar) to your place, but we´re lost!’
- ‘We always get lost on our way to Brian’s’
In the first case, the translation is ‘Estamos perdidos’ (using BE)
In the second sentence the translation is ‘Nos perdemos’ (using GET)
- ‘Are you married?’
- ‘No, I’m getting married next year’
BE habla del estado en que uno se encuentra, y GET el proceso o la acción:
BE (estar) or GET (…….se)
Pregnant / Worried / Sick / Well / Tanned / Sunburnt / Wet / Cold / Frustrated / Ready……etc.
(Some exceptions are LOCURAS, which use GO…
He´s going crazy / mad / insane…
…COLORES, which use TURN (sometimes GO)…
He turned/went red with anger – My fingers are turning blue with the cold.
….and AMOR and DORMIR, which use FALL:
They fell in love at first sight – It took me hours to fall asleep!)
3. GET= obtener, recibir, coger, conseguir.
- He got the bus at seven o’clock.
- Look what I’ve got in the sales (Nota: I’ve got = literalmente ‘He cogido/conseguido…’)
- Can you get a seat at the front of the theatre?
- How many presents did you get for your birthday?
- Don’t worry about the exam. I’m sure you’ll get a good mark!
- Do you get what I’m saying? (¿Pillas…?)
- In all of these examples ‘Get’ has the general meaning of ‘obtener, recibir, coger, conseguir…’
a) If you want to say ‘CONSEGUIR + verb’ it is better to use ‘Manage to + verb’
We managed to get to the top of the mountain and back down before nightfall.’
b) Some uses of ‘GET’ are not so logical. For example:
‘Who’s getting dinner tonight?’ can mean getting a pizza or takeaway food, but can also mean ‘Who’s cooking?’ If you are the type of person who needs logic, think of the earliest humans who had to leave the cave, kill a mammoth and bring it back before cooking
But then again, if you’re the type of person that needs a logical explanation, you’re studying the wrong language 😉
4. GET + preposition = Phrasal verb
The basic use of GET with a prepsition (UP, DOWN, ON, OUT, OFF, AROUND…….) is movement. It is different to GO because GO is directly IR. Let’s look at this example:
- I have to go up to fix the roof.
- What time do you get up?
The first is ‘IR ARRIBA’ (in a list to the fifth floor, for example) and the second is simply ‘LEVANTARSE’, a movement upwards. Can you imagine the difference between ‘GO DOWN’ and ‘GET DOWN’?
- When you go down to the cellar, bring a bottle of wine. (IR ABAJO)
- Get down! They’ll see us! (AGACHARSE)
With this idea you can use some logic:
Entrar y salir de un coche = GET IN / OUT (OF)
Subir y bajar de una mesa, autobus, avion = GET ON / OFF
Retroceder = GET BACK
Escapar, escabullirse = GET AWAY
This is the general idea, but there are many exceptions and many phrasal verbs with GET that do not refer to motion, and therefore is not so logical:
I always knew David would be the one to GET AHEAD = Progresar
I GET ON well with my workmates = Llevarse
With the salary I’m earning, I don’t know how I’ll GET BY = Arreglarselas, sobrevivir
John’s taken my book. I don’t know when I’ll GET it BACK = Recuperar
Maria has left David? We have to help him GET OVER it = Superar una enfermedad o mala experiencia.
Then there are phrasal verbs with GET and two prepositions. These are definitely not logical and has to be learnt in the same way as any new vocabulary
What are they GETTING UP TO? = tramar, hacer travesuras
When are you going to GET AROUND TO painting the bedroom? = Llegar (tener tiempo) para hacer algo
That’s the theory- now put it into practice with two quick exercises. Just write your email and get them immediately. You will also receive a free e-book and a chance to have a free Skype class with me. Click here for more information