The word ‘get’



Get/got is one of the words with which I have a love-hate relationship.

On the negative side, because of the hard ‘g’ and ‘t’ it sounds very staccato in a sentence. It is also a lazy word. You can always find a better one – particularly when you are writing, because then you have time to think of what would be a better alternative.

  • get the laundry (collect)
  • get the bus (catch, take)
  • get paid (be)
  • get the message (receive)
  • get spots (develop)
  • get old (grow)
  • get chickenpox (contract, catch)
  • get stuck (are)


On the positive side, get is a quick word when you lose your words while speaking. It fits many situations. So then, by all means use it.

Just two little notes for Swedish speakers

  • you do ‘get up’ in the morning, NOT go up. So that is one situation where you should always use the word get.
  • gotten is more American and considered slang and/or incorrect by many. There are many myths about it being a new Americanism. This is incorrect. British English used it until about 300 years ago but then it fell into obsolescence. But America and other former colonies still use it. If in doubt, avoid it if you work with British English as your standard version of English.


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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