Phrasal Verb #9 - Get to

November 5, 2018


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 we will explore today is "to annoy or upset someone".


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



Verbs of similar meaning: agitate; disturb; trouble; upset; annoy


1. get to (present tense)


i) James didn't get the promotion he'd been hoping for.


James: I'm so upset.
Claire: What's up?
James: I didn't get that promotion. They gave it to someone else in my office.
Claire: Oh, I'm sorry, hon. You worked so hard for that promotion. That really sucks.
James: I know, right? What gets to me, is that I have the best sales figures of anyone in the office. Unbelievable!

Claire: Why don't you ask your boss why you didn't get it? Could be useful feedback.

James: Yeah. I suppose.


ii) Raj is being bullied at school. His parents are worried. 


Mum: I think we should speak to Raj's teacher about the bullying. The teasing is really getting to him. He's even stopped eating properly. Some kids at school keep calling him "fatso".
Dad: I think you're right. He used to love going to school.

Mum: Ok. I'll make an appointment with his teacher.


iii) Trevor is speaking with his friend, Jang about their fathers.


Trevor: My dad was a cop until he retired last year.

Jang: Didn’t you want to be a cop like your dad?

Trevor: No. Definitely not. It's such a dangerous job. How about your dad?

Jang: He used to be an investment banker, but he decided to retire early.

Trevor: How come?

Jang: He made lots of money, but the long hours and stressful work got to him in the end and he retired as early as he could.


iv) Tim and Ken are talking about the experience of being gay in a small town.


Tim: So how long have you been living in the city?

Ken: Nearly ten years! Time flies.

Tim: Really? A decade already? Wow. I've been here five years. I moved here because I couldn't stand living where I grew up.

Ken: The gay thing?

Tim: It's difficult being gay in a small town in this country. The gossiping and discrimination was getting to me. I wanted to live somewhere where I could be free and open.

Ken: I completely get that. Same for me. 


v) Tina and Jane are talking about a job that Tina is thinking of applying for.


Tina: I'm thinking of applying for that job at Rexcorp. It's a sales job.

Jane: Why would you want to work there? I've heard it has a bad rep.

Tina: I'm kind of bored here. I want to learn some new stuff and the job looks really cool.

Jane: My friend Sasha works in the Sales Department. She said it's full of people with bad attitudes.

Tina: Really?

Jane: Yeah. I think it would get to me if I worked somewhere like that. 

Tina: Well, I'm not you! I think I'm going to apply for it.


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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