Get uses and expressions


Get is an informal word, so it is more common in spoken English than written English. It has many meanings. Here are some of the basic ones.

‘Get’ + past participle

We sometimes use the more informal ‘get’ + past participle:

Common collocations

Get is so common with certain words (often describing a change of state) that it is a good idea to learn them as expressions.

Note: The expression getting better at something can describe an improvement in your ability to do something, e.g. I’m getting better at English/swimming; it also describes an improvement in your health, e.g. She was very ill but she’s getting better now. (= getting worse)

Phrasal verbs and special expressions with ‘get’

I get on very well with my sister. (= I have a very good relationship with my sister)
How are you getting on? (a) (= a general question: how is life?)
(b) (= what progress are you making, e.g. with your English?)
It’s difficult to get to know people in a foreign country. (= meet people and make friends)
I want to get rid of all my old records. (= sell them or throw them away or give them away)
My alarm wakes me up at 7 a.m., but I don’t usually get up (= get out of bed) until 7.15.