We use the verb get in spoken English. It can have a few different meanings. Get can mean become, receive, obtain, acquire, arrive, travel, and more. Here we explain the most common uses of get and provide you with examples and exercises to practise.

Get and Become

Get has many different meanings. Become means to grow, develop or begin to be. We use get in informal spoken English and become in formal written English. We use the structure get/become + adjective or adverb to talk about change.

get (informal, spoken) become (formal, written)
She got angry and yelled at the children. She became furious and scolded the children.
The weather gets warmer the further south you go. As we travelled south, the weather became increasingly warm.
They got tired after an hour or so of walking. He became weary from the long day of travel behind him.
  • We can use become + noun to talk about change or development but not get + noun.
In 2009, Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. (not: He got the 44th President …)

Grow, Turn, Go

The verbs turn and grow can also indicate change. Use grow for change over a long time. Use turn for a faster development, sometimes we can use go instead of turn.

This year, Layla is turning 30. (fixed expression)
In Autumn, the leaves turn brown. (also: … the leaves go brown.)
It felt as if her hair had turned gray overnight.(also: her hair haid gone gray …)
I want to grow old with you. (fixed expression)
The rich are growing richer and the poor are growing poorer.(also: the rich are getting/becoming richer …)

Get with Other Meanings

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the other meanings of get. We use get in informal spoken English and the other verbs in formal written English. Please note that become is not possible in these examples.

get = acquire, offer, receive, etc.

We use get + noun/prounoun (direct object) to mean acquire, obtain, collect, receive or receive.

Rachel got/received a pony for her birthday.
Can I get/offer you something to drink?
Michael has gone to get/obtain some milk.

get = arrive at, reach, travel by

We use get in connection with public transpot to mean travel by.

Justin gets the train to work every day./Justin travels to work by train.

We also use get to signify the end of a journey. In this sense get means arrive at or reach.

They got to/arrived at work late that morning.
Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to/reach the train station from here?