David Recine

Phrasal Verbs with “Get”

A while back, I introduced you to a short word that is surprisingly complicated to use: “get.” As I explained, “get” has seven meanings. Of course, those are just the meanings of “get” when it is being used on its own. “Get” is also used in quite a few phrasal verbs. These phrasal verbs have completely different meanings from the seven uses of “get” in my previous post. Below is a list of several common phrasal verbs with “get.” The list includes definitions and example sentences.

Get across:

To teach or transmit information or an idea

Example use: The professor tried to get his ideas across in his lecture.


Get in:

To arrive at a destination or specific location, especially a workplace

Example use: I came to work at 8am, but my boss didn’t get in until 9.


Get off:

Definition 1: To remove something by pushing it or pulling it away from a surface or object

Example use: I got my hat off and realized there’s a spider in my hair! Get the spider off!

Definition 2: To transmit a written message, by mail or electronically

Example use: I got off an application to an American university. A week later the director of admissions got off an email to me, telling me I’d been accepted.

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.


Get up:

Definition 1: To wake up or rise from a sitting/lying position.

Example use: Get up! It’s time for breakfast. And when you’re done with breakfast, get up from your chair and help me wash the dishes.

Definition 2: To gather or acquire something you need in order to accomplish a goal or task

Example use:  If he doesn’t get up the courage to ask his boss for a pay increase, he won’t be able to get up the money to buy a house


Get ahead:

To make progress, especially to make progress more quickly than expected

Example use: I am getting ahead on my homework. I may finish my term paper early.


Get away with:

To do something wrong without being discovered and/or punished

Example use: If you try to cheat in the card game, you won’t get away with it. Someone will notice, and you will be forced to leave the game.


Get down to:

To begin doing something important, or to begin discussing something important

Example use: Now that we’ve briefly discussed Russia’s role in World War II, let’s get down to Russia’s current military situation. After this lecture, you’ll need to get down to studying for your midterm exam right away.


Get through:

To complete a task or finish experiencing something

Example use: I got all the way through graduate school. I can certainly get through finishing a simple two-page report!


Get to:

To be able to do something, or to be permitted to do something

Example use: Now that school is done, I get to go on summer vacation. Since my parents are on a cruise, I’ll get to stay alone at their house all through June.


Like “get” itself, the phrasal verbs above are used most often in informal, spoken English. You will occasionally hear “get” phrasal verbs in lectures you listen to on the TOEFL. These kinds of phrasal verbs appear even more often in audio tracks of conversations. In my next post on “get,” we’ll look at some examples of “get” and phrasal verbs with “get” in real TOEFL materials.


  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

More from Magoosh