Phrasal Verb #1 - Get to

October 20, 2015


One reason that phrasal verbs can be difficult to learn is that one verb can have many different meanings. For example, the phrasal verb, "get to", has at least 5 major meanings which are used in everyday conversation. The meaning that is used perhaps the most often is "to arrive somewhere".


Below, I've written a couple of conversations to show how "get to" is used with this meaning. 



1. get to (present tense)


i) Karl and Freeda are talking about their morning commute to work.


Karl: You are always already in the office when I get to work. You must leave home super early.

Freeda: Me? No. I just take a few shortcuts. I usually get to the office at about 8:30.

Karl: I think I need to find some shortcuts!


ii) Susan is trying to decide which train she should catch to travel to a job interview. She's talking to her partner about it.


Susan: I'm so nervous about my interview tomorrow. I'm worried I might be late.

Partner: Just take a slightly earlier train then.

Susan: I'm going to check the train times online.... Ok. If I catch the 9:30 train, it gets to London Waterloo station at 10am*. That should give me enough time.


* Here we normally use "gets" instead of "will get" because the train arrives at this time regularly, following a fixed timetable.


2. be getting to (present continuous for fixed plans)


Dave is going to a party this evening at his friend, John’s place. He is talking to another friend, Claire, about the party.


Dave: Are you going to John’s party tonight?

Claire: Yep. Might be a bit late though. I have to finish some work at the office first.

Dave: What time are you getting to the party then?

Claire: About eight.

Dave: John’s asked me to be there from six, but I think that’s a bit early for me. I’ll get there for eight, too. Do you want to meet me at the station and then we can go together?

Claire: Sure. I’ll meet you at Angel tube station at 7:45.

Dave: Great. See you later.

Claire: See you.


3. got to (past tense)


Dee is going to see her friend Lucy. She planned to arrive at the station near Lucy's house at 11am but the train was delayed.


Dee: I'm so sorry I'm late! A train broke down in front of my train so we had to wait for ages. And my phone's battery died so I couldn't text you.

Lucy: Oh no. Are you ok?

Dee: I'm a bit stressed to be honest. The train didn't get to Weybridge until 10:45 and then I had to wait for a train to Hampton. We finally got to Hampton at 11:30 but then we had to wait to go into the station!

Lucy: Typical British trains! Poor you. Let's go and get a nice cup of coffee.

Dee: Great idea.


4. will get to (future prediction)


i) Shu-fen and Lucas are taking a road trip through the mountains. They plan to stop at a small town called Roysville for lunch.


Shu-fen: What time do you think we'll get to Roysville?

Lucas: I'm not sure. I think we'll get there around 1:30.

Shu-fen: I think I'm going to get hungry before that. Can we stop at a convenience store on the way?

Lucas: Sure. If we pass one.

Shu-fen: Great.


ii) Zoe is driving in the car with her children. They are going to her sister's house.


Son: Mom. Will we get there soon?*

Zoe: No. We won't get there for a while. Why?

Son: I really need to go to the bathroom.

Zoe: Okay. Hang on. I'll try to find a Gas station.


* We say 'get there', not 'get to there'. Similarly, we say 'get here', not 'get to here'.



5. be going to get to (future prediction)


John and his friends Chad and David are driving all the way from California to New York. John's car is quite old. It starts to have engine trouble. Chad and David are worried that they won't be able to go to New York.


John: Uh-oh. Sounds like we have car trouble.

Chad: What's up?

John: I'm not sure. The engine warning light is on.

David: What? We're not gonna* get to New York at this rate.

John: Don't panic. I'll find a garage.

David: Are we gonna get there either?

John: Of course we're gonna get there. Don't worry. I've had engine trouble lots of times before with this car. It's fine!

Chad and David: What!?


* “gonna” is often used as a shortened form of “going to”


If you found these conversations useful, check out my new book which contains over 450 original conversations like this plus over 200 exercises!


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