Five Common Phrasal Verbs with Get
Ohh phrasal verbs, who doesn’t love them? Especially if they start with the verb get. How exhilarating!
Now, being serious, learning phrasal verbs can be a daunting experience; the list never seems to end! To make things even more interesting, a single phrasal verb can have more than one meaning. Yay! It's easy to feel overwhelmed, but you don’t have to. Go little by little; learn the most common phrasal verbs, and with time you’ll feel confident using them.
There are lots of phrasal verbs that start with the verb get, more than would be wise to list in a blog post, so I will focus on just five that are quite common.
Look at these sentences and try to see if you understand what get on/along means in each case.
When I was a teenager, I used to argue a lot with my parents, but now we get on really well.
I’m not having a good time at the office; I don’t get along with my boss.
I heard Sally is on maternity leave and that you are doing her job, plus yours. How are you getting on/along with the extra workload?
You are the one with experience; I’ve never done this by myself. Please don’t go! How am I going to get on/along without you?
What does getting on/along mean in each case? Think of an answer before you continue reading!
Alright, I trust you already gave it some thought and that you came up with an answer, so let's check it:
In the first two sentences, get on/along with someone means to have a friendly relationship with someone. If two people get on/along, they like each other and are friendly to each other.
In the second pair of sentences, get on/along means to deal with something, to make progress in a situation. So the question How are you getting along with the extra workload? means how are you dealing/coping with it.
You can also see get along (not get on) in a sentence like this:
It’s getting late. I’d better be getting along.
What do you think getting along means here? Think hard. Think a little harder…
It means to leave a place.
Get away with something
Many students cheat on their exams and they get away with it. They get a good score and the teachers never notice anything strange.
I can’t believe how spoiled these kids are!
Their parents let them get away with murder!
I don’t know how she does it! She can get away with eating a lot of sweets and carbs; she never puts on weight!
So, what does get away with means in the sentences above? Once again, take a moment to think about your own answers.
Got them? Let's see if you got them right:
In the first sentence, get away with means to manage to do something wrong without being caught or punished. The students cheated, the teachers didn’t notice, and the students got good grades. They got away with it.
The second sentence is not about parents allowing their children to kill people, please don’t be alarmed. To get away with murder simply means not to be punished after doing something wrong.
In the third sentence, this lady is able to eat anything she wants without ever putting on weight. She does something which is not the best thing to do (eating lots of sweets and carbs), and in spite of this, she does not experience the natural consequence one would expect from such an unhealthy habit: to gain weight. How does Jennifer Lawrence stay so slim? She must have a secret! (Pay attention to the title of the article!).
Since I lost my job, I’ve struggled financially and I’ve unfortunately got behind with my mortgage.
I spent too much time on social media and not enough time working. I’ve got behind with my work!
So, what do you think get behind means here? Think of an answer before you continue reading.
Ready? Okay, get behind means to fail to do or pay what you should have. If you got behind on your schoolwork, it means you didn’t complete the assignments you had to do, or you didn’t study enough. If you got behind with your bills, it means you didn’t pay them.
When I was a backpacker, I didn’t earn much money, but I made enough to get by.
In many countries, people get by on less than $100 a month.
Before going to Mykonos, we learnt a little Greek, just enough to get by.
You can get by with a Blackberry now, but you’ll soon need to get a more modern phone.
What does get by mean in these sentences? Again, think before you continue reading.
Basically, get by means to have enough of something, such as money or knowledge, to do what you need to do. If you have enough money to get by, you have enough to survive, and if you know enough Greek to get by, you know the basics to communicate with people.
Get around to something
After the second lockdown started, I could finally get around to decluttering the house.
(When someone sends you a message and you don’t reply to it on the spot because you are busy at that moment., when you eventually reply, you can say:
I wanted to reply earlier, but I’ve been so busy that I never got around to it!
By now, you have plenty of experience working out the meaning of phrasal verbs, so you know what to do. What does get around to something means? Think before you continue reading.
Get around to something means to finally do something that you’ve been wanting to do for a while.
These are just 5 phrasal verbs that start with get, but the list doesn't end here, there are plenty more. But as I said before, it is better to focus on a few, make sure you understand them, that you are able to use them and that you feel comfortable doing so, and only then put some energy into learning a few more.