0

Would it be safe to say that using the word get (or phrases containing it) to replace existing but longer words is now fashionable and acceptable? With already about 50 meanings, it is replacing words like board, mount, dismount, deplane, detrain, alight, embark, exit, escape, etc. I was told elsewhere by a teacher of English that he hadn't used the words I listed for years. "Get on" a horse, bike, plane, bus, and "get off" the same way is his norm now. Is this entirely attributable to texting convenience?

My preference would be "Upon returning from work, I change my clothes, mount my bike and hasten to the market before darkness makes me vulnerable to an accident." It appears instead more common to say, "When I get home from work, I get changed, get out my bike and get on it." "I must get to the market before it gets dark."

A dictionary does not direct people ‘not’ to overuse it and ‘not’ to replace all synonymous words with it. My question has to do with what is taught in schools and advised in forums, and includes the influence toward brevity that modern communication devices have had. Is ‘get’ to be the preferred synonym for the words I listed?

  • I don't know what you mean by "replace." We still use all of the words you list. "Get" has also had a broad meaning for quite some time. Do you mean that it seems to you that people are using "get" more often now than they did in the past? This doesn't seem to be the case to me; could you please add some more explanation of why you think so? – herisson Feb 21 '16 at 15:54
  • Aren't most of these MWVs such as 'get on', 'get off', 'get away', 'get away from', 'get aboard' ...? MWVs outnumber simplex verbs in English and have long been generally more idiomatic than simplex synonyms (eg 'take off' vs 'doff'; 'get up' vs 'rise [from one's bed]').). – Edwin Ashworth Feb 21 '16 at 15:58
  • to sumelic: I was told elsewhere by a teacher of English that he hadn't used the words I listed for years. Get on a horse, bike, plane, bus, and get off the same way is his norm now. – Peter Feb 21 '16 at 17:10
  • to Edwin: My preference would be "Upon returning from work, I change my clothes, mount my bike and hasten to the market before darkness makes me vulnerable to an accident." It appears instead more common to say, "When I get home from work, I get changed, get out my bike and get on it. I must get to the market before it gets dark." – Peter Feb 21 '16 at 17:44
  • @Peter If you would like the recipients receive your return-comments, mark them with the @ sign before the name, just as I did for you. The system will route it. – Cascabel Feb 21 '16 at 18:52
1

I had a look at to get, transitive verb at The Free Dictionary. They have 16 numbers, most of them have several definitions. So I counted 37 definitions altogether.

That is only an optical thing. Semantically I found only two meanings. All 37 definitions can be reduced to two basic concepts:

1 - to get something

2 - to get somewhere and to get someone/something somewhere.

If your girl friend gets a baby or if you get a bullet in your arm or if the police got the gangster or if you got your nose broken - it is semantically the same idea.

But I admit it is very difficult to get away from detailed dictionary definitions and see the semantic concepts.

Of course, I'm sure that not everybody will agree with me. But please consider, an advanced learner or a native speaker manages to understand and handle all 37 uses of the dictionary. But in his head he doesn't have 37 definitions, he has only the two concepts I stated above.

On the one hand it is convenient that dictionaries give detailed definitions, on the other hand they present a wrong picture. What schools and textbooks fail to do it to foster semantic understanding.

  • I get confused. How does "confused" correspond to something or to somewhere - it's an adjective, not a noun. – FumbleFingers Feb 21 '16 at 18:37
  • You get somewhere, in a new state, a state of confusion or a confused state. – rogermue Feb 21 '16 at 18:48
  • I still don't get it. You say there are two basic ways you can use get (with a syntactic "object" which is either a "something" or a "somewhere"). But to me there's no obvious reason why an adjective like confused should syntactically correspond to a confused state - nor do I see why even if it did, that should match your "somewhere" concept (figuratively, I moved to a "place" identified as a confused state), rather than the "something" concept (somewhat less figuratively, I "obtained" that confused state). – FumbleFingers Feb 21 '16 at 19:06
  • I have no problem with getting somewhere whether it is a concrete place or in a figurative way a special state. But I admit not everybody will see things in this way. In this case It would be necessary to have a third use for to get confused or beaten etc. But I think three uses is simpler than 37 definitions. – rogermue Feb 21 '16 at 20:46
  • @I agree that there is no lack of understanding of the many ways to use the verb ‘to get’. A dictionary does not direct people ‘not’ to overuse it and ‘not’ to replace all synonymous words with it. My question has to do with what is taught in schools and advised in forums, and includes the influence toward brevity that modern communication devices have had. Is ‘get’ to be the preferred synonym for the words I listed? – Peter Feb 21 '16 at 21:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.