A verb with many meanings
'To get' is a replacing verb. It is a verb that replaces another verb in a sentence but keeps the original verb's meaning. For example with the verb 'to buy':
'I'm going to buy him a computer for Christmas.'
Can also be written,
'I'm going to get him a computer for Christmas.'
Even though the verbs are different, both of the verbs in the sentences have the same meaning, 'to buy'.
The same happens with this next verb, 'to receive':
'I received a computer for Christmas from my father.'
Can also be written,
'I got a computer for Christmas from my father.'
Again, the meaning of the verbs in the two sentences is actually the same, 'to receive'.
How to use 'to get'
There are two important things to remember when using 'to get':
1. It is informal: 'to get' is generally used in informal English. It is not commonly used in formal writing or speaking (e.g. in a presentation or in a report).
2. Context is king: Because 'to get' has so many different meanings, people are only able to understand which meaning of 'to get' is being used by the context of the sentence.
For example, in the below sentence, is the meaning of 'to get' either 'to buy' or 'to receive'?
'I got a computer for Christmas for my father.'
In this sentence because of 'for my father', it doesn't make sense that 'got' means 'received'. So, in the context of this sentence it must mean 'bought'.
But what about in the following sentence? Does 'got' in it mean 'received' or 'bought'?
'I got a computer at Christmas.'
It is impossible to know from just the sentence which it is, it could be both. So, it is very important when using 'to get' that the rest of the sentence or the context you say the sentence in confirms which meaning of 'to get' you are using. If not, people listening or reading will either be confused or misunderstand.
And as you will see in the below quiz, 'to get' has a lot more different meanings than just 'to buy' and 'to receive'. So the probability that somebody is confused or misunderstands what you are saying when you use the verb can be very high.
So now do the below quiz to learn some of the many different meanings that 'to get' has in English.