Кріт О.В. «Get» phrases: general characteristics and ways of usage

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Кріт Олена Вікторівна – студентка Педагогічного інституту Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка, напрям підготовки «Початкова освіта», кафедра іноземних мов і методик їх навчання Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка

У статті розглядається опис дієслова «to get», і показується його незамінність в англійських виразах. Автор висвітлює загальну характеристику сталих виразів, а саме словосполучень, фразових дієслів та ідіом, що вживаються з дієсловом «to get», визначає їх способи формування та використання, а також важливість в англійській мові.

Ключові слова: фрази, словосполучення, вирази, фразові дієслова, ідіоми.

В статье рассматривается описание глагола «to get», и показывается его незаменимость в английских выражениях. Автор излагает общую характеристику устойчивых выражений, а именно словосочетаний, фразових глаголов и идиом, которые употребляются с глаголом «to get», определяет их способы формирования и использования, а также важность в английском языке.

Ключевые слова: фразы, словосочетания, выражения, фразове глаголы, идиомы.

This article considers the description of the verb «to get», and showed its indispensability in English expressions. The author examines the general characteristics of expressions, in particular «Get» collocations, phrasal verbs, idioms and defines the ways of their forming and usage. The article analyzes the importance and the place «Get» phrases in the English language.

Key words: phrases, collocations, expressions, phrasal verbs, idioms.


Relevance of the topic

English is the most important and widespread language in the world. Nowadays it has a special status. English is spoken practically all over the world. So, every well educated person should speak English, because it is the language of communication, business, science and culture.

So, the process of learning English is very important. Knowledge of English is essential in today's world. When you learn English you discover new possibilities.

Learning a language is usually studying vocabulary which includes different expressions and phrases, that occupies an important place in the process of studying.

Human speech is one of the main senses of every person that helps to reflect is his own vision of the world. Collocations and phrasal verbs are a great way to do this. These combinations sound natural to natives peakers, but those, who learn English have to make a special effort to learn them because they are often difficult to guess.

The analysis of research

Many scientist do their researchers studying English phrases and their usage and formation. They are: A. Brandat,J. Hill, R. Kortni, M. Lewis, M. McCarty, R. Gairns, F. O`Dell, S. Redman. K. T. Barantsev compiled «English-Ukrainian Phrase book» where we can find the explanation of phrasal verbs.

The purpose formulation of research

Set expressions are the integral part of the English language. So, in the research the general characteristics of the formation «Get» expressions and ways of usage are described. Actuality of the chosen topic is determined by the necessity study and better description of the verb «to get» which is very important in the vocabulary system and English grammar.

The objective of the article is to give general characteristics of «Get» phrases and show the importance of these expressions. In the course of our work we can highlight following top-priority goals: 1) ways of formation of «get» collocations, phrasal verbs and idioms; 2) methods of usage of «get» expressions.

The main material

«Get» is a very common verb, especially in informal speech and writing. Get has many different meanings and is used in many idioms. Get has many different grammatical patterns depending on the meaning [8].

We commonly use get + object or get + indirect object + direct object when we mean, very generally, ‘buy’ or ‘receive’ or ‘obtain’. Examples: I got my passport last week(to obtain); She got her driving license last week (to obtain); I got a letter from my friend in Nigeria (to receive); He gets $1,000 a year from his father (to receive); She got a new coat from Zappaloni in Rome (to buy); We got a new television for the sitting room (to buy) [11].

To get + place expression = reach, arrive at a place. Examples: How are you getting home tonight?; We got to London around 6 p.m; What time will we get there? When did you get back from New York?[8].

«Get» also has many other more specific meanings, for example: It’s my turn to get dinner tonight (prepare a meal); I don’t get it. Why did he speak like that? (understand); His behavior really gets me at times (annoy); Once we got to know each other, we became great friends (become acquainted) [6].

Typical word combinations that regularly occur in English speech and writing are called collocations. In other words, collocations are collections of words that "fit together" [10].

There are different scientific explanations about this notions. Researches prove that, when two words co-occur, or are used together frequently, they are said to collocate [2].

Some pairs of words occur together very rarely, but other pairs occur together so often that when you see one word, you strongly expect that the other word might be there too [9].

Collocations show how words combine with other words in a group of words. For example: get a shock, keep the change, make a mistake, catch a ball. The verb "to get" takes a special place in English. It released some special versatility even among the most common and most valued verbs. Sometimes it happens in speech so often that it seems that "it works for all". There are different types of collocation according to the rules of formation. For example:

Get + adjective to mean ‘become’ or to describe a change of state or situation: Put your coat and scarf on or you’ll get cold.; Let’s hope she gets better soon; It’s getting dark.

Get+noun: You might get a shock when you realize how it hard;

I haven't decided yet whether I'll go to college or get a job; You get the impression Lee came up smiling, if you looked at him;You'd better hurry up if you want to get home before dark. We can't really do anything until we get permission from Tom.

Get+verb: Maybe he wants to get to know you better;

Get+adverb: Нe'llget nowhere with her, he's too young; So let's get started.

The other type of expression is phrasal verbs.

A phrasal verb is a verb that consists of two or three words. Most phrasal verbs consist of two words – the first word is a verb, and the second word is a particle. The particle is either an adverb or a preposition. An important sign of phrasal verbs is that they are typically idiomatic. That is why the whole meaning of a phrasal verb cannot be understood by simply putting together the meanings of its individual parts [7].

There are three types of phrasal verbs:

The verb + adverb. Еxamples with explanations of phrasal verbs: I couldn't get away at all last year, I was too busy (mean: to take a holyday away from the place where you normally live); There’s a meeting after work, but I should be able to get away by seven( mean: to succeed in leaving a place or a person, especially when this is difficult); Did your speech get across (to the crowd)? (mean:to succeed in making someone understand an idea or message); We`ll probably get back at about nine(mean: to return to a place after going somewhere else); I ‘m worried that if I stay off sick I’ll get behind (mean: if you get behind with your work, you have not done as much as you should have)[4].

The verb + preposition. The quickest way to get about the city is by underground way (mean: to travel around a city or area); She's been getting above herself since she won the singing competition(mean: to thing that you are more important or powerful than you really are); It is always difficult to get at the truth(mean: to finally do something that you have been intending to do for a long time);How do you get on Anny? (mean: if two or more people get on, they have a friendly relationship) [4].

The verb + adverb + preposition.For example: The committee will get round to your suggestion after they've dealt;They'll soon get round to it (mean: to find time for (some-thing), esp. after delay); And now one of the other runners has got abreast of the leading horse (mean: catch up with someone), Scientists have to work hard to get abreast of the latest discoveries and developments in their field (mean: stay at a level, to keep up); The drunk man got along with the help of his two companions (mean: move on) [3].

It is necessary to mention another type of phrases, such as idioms. Idioms are groups of words in a fixed order that have a meaning that cannot be guessed by knowing the meaning of the individual words. There are some types of idioms. Here's typology which we have found in the «Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms». So, there are different kinds of idioms according to their special characteristics, for example: formal and informal (stylistic description); American, Australian and British (origin) and etc. For example:

Formal: I shouldn`t have read the letter, but curiosity got the upper hand.

Informal: Can’t you just get off his back and let him rest for a while?

I`ve got to get my brain in gear for the meeting this afternoon (mean: to make yourself start thinking clearly and effectively).

American: After two hours we could hardly walk another step, but we got a second breath as we neared home (mean: to suddenly have new energy to continue doing something after you were feeling tired).

Australian: Liverpool got off the mark with a blinding goal (mean: to score for the first time in a sports competition).

British: Tony got the hump because he thought we hadn`t invited him to the party(mean: to get annoyed or upset with someone because you think they have done something bad to you).

Old-fashioned: Be honest with me do I look fat in these trousers? Get away with you! (mean: something that you say when someone says something that is silly, surprising or not true); Oh, get knotted, will you, I`m trying to work! (mean: an impolite way of telling someone who is annoying you to go away).

Humorous: He suddenly got religion when he went to college.

As you see the verb «to get» takes important role in idioms too.

We would just warn you: Idioms are one of those things in English that you should only to learn. There is no necessary to search logic of these expressions. Yes, of course, there are idioms that have their analogues in Ukrainian or Russian, but still most of them are unique and inimitable.


During our research we have studied that the verb «to get» occupies an important place in the English language. In this article we gave description of the verb «to get», and showed its indispensability in English expressions. We explored ways of creating and using collocations. Also we submitted ways of usage and typology as phrasal verbs and idioms. There are a lot of examples.

In order to learn real-life, standard English perfectly we as people, who can speak English as the foreign language should pay a great attention to all types of phrases such as: collocations, phrasal verbs and idioms. Only in this way we can speak English fluently.


  1. Barantsev K. T. English-Ukrainian Phrase book / Barantsev. – Kyiv: Znannya, 2005. – 1056 p.
  2. Gairns R. Working with words: a guide to teaching and learning vocabulary. / R. Gairns, S. Redman. // Cambridge University Press. – 1986.
  3. Kortni R. English Phrasal Verbs / Kortni. – Moscow, 2000. – 767 p. – (2nd ed).
  4. Longman Phrasal Verbs Dictionary. – Pearson Education Limited, 2000. – 622p.
  5. McCarthy M. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms / Michael McCarthy. - United Kingdom : Cambridge University press,2002. – 608 p.
  6. McCarthy M., O'Dell F. English Vocabulary in Use Upper - Intermediate / M. McCarthy, F. O'Dell. – United Kingdom : Cambridge University press, 2006. – 309 p
  7. Brandat A. Phrasal verbs are easy [Electronic Resource] / Brandat – Mode of access: http://greenforest.com.ua/articles/post/288.
  8. English Grammar Today [Electronic Resource]. – Mode of access: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/get
  9. Hil J. LTP Dictionary of Selected Collocations » [Electronic Resource] / J. Hil, M. Lewis. – 1997. – Mode of access: http://www.ex.ua/75203317.
  10. Principles and Activities For Improving English Language Fluency [Electronic Resource]. – Mode of access: http://depts.washington.edu/cidrweb/OLD/consulting/itafluency5.html
  11. The verb «to get» [Electronic Resource]. – Mode of access: http://www.edufind.com/english-grammar/verb-get/

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