Can anybody explain the difference between "getting ones hands on something" and "getting something"? Example:

"Somehow, she got her hands on the bat."

I guess she suddenly found/fumbled the bat. Is that right?


Get something means to obtain, purchase or receive something.

To get your hands on something can have a very wide range of meanings, frequently colloquial and certainly context sensitive:

If I get my hands on you, would be used as a threat.
I'd love to get my hands on that car, Oh how I would like to drive that car.
I could fix it if only I could get my hands on a screwdriver.

Does anyone know where I can get my hands on a ticket for the concert? means that I need a ticket and am asking for help.


Get (getting something) means to obtain, to acquire, to take into possession, to be given, to receive, etc.

It can be specific and refer to something concrete:

  • He went home to get his catcher's mitt.
  • They decided to stop and get dinner.

Or it can refer to something more abstract:

  • On Sundays, she'll often get depressed.
  • He was afraid he would get sick.

Getting one's hands on is a strictly defined type of get, one that implies a certain level of determination, desperation and-or ineptitude. It communicates a more frantic, physically aggressive type of acquisition:

  • She loved to fantasize about getting her hands on a million dollars.
  • He knew eventually he would get his hands on that rare comic book.

In the case of the example sentence, it's more fumbled than found. "Somehow" denotes something that's preventing previous attempts to get at bat. The fact that she's there now—that she actually got her hands on that bat—is just plain hard-to-believe, a fluke.

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