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The Many Faces of "Get": Part 2

2020年7月30日


In the last blog we looked at four different ways that native speakers use the verb ‘get’, and we learned how in everyday speech a sentence like “After you buy the fish and chips, you need to arrive home quickly before the food becomes cold” might be said as “After you get the fish and chips, you need to get home quickly before the food gets cold.”

 

In today’s blog we will look at two more very common uses of the verb ‘get’, but first of all we will have to do a little review of another verb: ‘have’.

 

There are two situations where we very often use the verb ‘have’; the first and most obvious of course is possession, as in “I have a pen” or “My father has three cars”. The second, when used with the preposition ‘to’, is used for obligation, as in “I have to stay at work until 6pm”, or “You have to have a shower before you enter the pool”.

In both of these situations, we can replace the verb ‘have’ with ‘have got’ without changing the meaning of the sentence; like many other uses of ‘get’ this is very common in spoken informal English, but almost never in formal writing.

 

Here is a small table showing how we can use ‘have got’ to replace ‘have’, and make our spoken English sound more natural!


 

 

Common examples:

This use of ‘have got’ for ‘have’ and ‘have got to’ for ‘have to’ is something you can hear every day, on the streets, on tv shows, and here are some of the more common examples you might hear:


- “Have you got _______?”

Rather than the more formal ‘do you have _____?’, you will often hear the casual “Have you got______?”, commonly heard from a smoker asking “Sorry mate, have you got a lighter?”.

 

- “I’ve got to ________”

The people who make the rules tend to use ‘must’: “SWIMMERS MUST SHOWER BEFORE ENTERING POOL”, while other people talking about those rules tend to use ‘have to’: “You have to shower before you can enter the pool”. However, among friends or family or co-workers, it’s more likely that you might say “Oh, you’ve got to shower before you can get in the pool.”

 

- “It hasn’t got _______”

When we are comparing hotels, laptops, or really anything else, we often talk about what it has or hasn’t got. For example, “It’s a nice apartment, but it hasn’t got a garden”, or “My dad’s new car’s got seven seats, but it hasn’t got air conditioning.”.

NB: In song lyrics and very casual written English, we sometimes change ‘have got to’ to ‘(have) gotta’ to show the pronunciation, in the same way that “going to” becomes “gonna” and “want to” becomes “wanna”. Here are some movie and TV examples!

 
Test:

In each sentence here, am I using “have got” to show possession or obligation?:

 

You’ve got to arrive before 7pm. (obligation)

It’s got seven seats! (possession)

They’ve got a lot of classrooms.

We’ve got to buy tickets before we go.

Have you got the tickets?

I’ve got to go to the pharmacy for some medicine.

You’ve got to work hard if you run your own business.

 
 

Do you have any questions about using the word ‘get’? Comment down below!

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