Get is one of the commonest words in English, and is used in many different ways. It is sometimes avoided in a very formal style, but it is correct and natural in most kinds of speech and writing. The meaning of get depends on what kind of word comes after it. With a direct object, the basic meaning is ‘obtain’, ‘come to have’; with other kinds of word, the basic meaning is ‘become’, ‘come to be’.
get +object +verb form
Causative: Don’t get him talking
Get+object +… ing means ‘make somebody/something start .. .ing‘.
Don’t get him talking about his illnesses.
Once we got the heater going the car started to warm up.
Causative: Get Penny to help us
Get+object +infinitive means’make somebody/something do something’ or ‘persuade somebody/something to do something’: there is often an idea of difficulty.
- I can’t get that child to go to bed.
- Get Penny to help us if you can.
- See if you can get the car to start.
Causative: get something done
Get+object +past participle can mean ’cause something to be done by somebody else’. The past participle has a passive meaning.
I must get my watch repaired. (= I want my watch to be repaired.)
I’m going to get my haircut this afternoon.
Experience: We got our roof blown off
Get+object +past participle can sometimes be used in the sense of ‘experience’.
We got our roof blown off in the storm last week.
This idea is more often expressed with have (e.g. We had our roof blown off)