Session 4

Vocabulary: 10 uses of 'get'

Enjoy our version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - and learn 10 different ways to use the word 'get'.

Sessions in this unit

Session 4 score

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    Activity 1
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    Activity 2

Activity 2

Will they ever escape?

Will the men be stuck on the submarine for ever?

How do you think the story ends?

A) The three men never escape from Nautilus
B) The three men use their intelligence to escape from Nautilus
C) The three men escape from Nautilus by luck
D) Something else

To do

Watch the video and find out which option is correct. And listen out for five more uses of get.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hello again, I'm Darren. Let's dive down 20,000 leagues under the sea, to meet the three men in our story who are under control of Captain Nemo on a submarine vessel, the Nautilus…

The days and weeks pass and the Nautilus and its crew travel around the world's oceans visiting places, such as the lost city of Atlantis, they fish for giant pearls, they travel to the South Pole and get stuck in the ice and they get attacked by a group of enormous squid.  But the men know they cannot stay on board the Nautilus forever –and they need to get away.

Then things get worse. Captain Nemo attacks a warship. Arronax – the scientist who's being held on the vessel – doesn't know which country the ship belongs to but is shocked when he sees Nemo sink it, claiming he wants to take revenge on the people who took away his family and country.

The men know they've got to get off the ship but just as they do, the Nautilus gets  trapped in a giant whirlpool. Round and round it spins in the frothing water – it looks unlikely that anyone will get through it – but amazingly the men emerge unconscious, floating in a small boat, and they finally wake up on dry land, inside a fisherman's hut. What an adventure – it's one that Aronnax decides to write about in a book about his journey under the sea. As for Captain Nemo – we can only assume he drowned and won't be getting up to any mischief anymore! 

And that's been my story about his story! I hope you found it exciting and that you'll join me for another one soon. Bye for now.

To do

So, the correct answer was C) The three men escape from Nautilus by luck!

Now you get to do a fun quiz to practise the different uses of get. Good luck!

What's the use of 'get'?

5 Questions

Choose the best expression with get to fill each gap.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Over to you

We asked you to tell us a story using as many of the phrases with get as possible:

  • get out of hand 
  • get 
  • get underway 
  • get 
  • get to 
  • get away 
  • get worse 
  • get off 
  • get through 
  • getting up to (something) 

Your stories 

Hidemune, Japan

One day, I got to go fishing in the lake. This was the first time to fish. As soon as I got to the place, I got very excited. My ambition was get as many fish as possible. I got off my car and went out of the parking lot to the lake. I saw a lot of people fishing there and they seemed successful. I got underway to prepare for fishing hurriedly. I also got a lot of fish even though it was the first time! When it got dark, I decided to go home with the fish I had caught. I took a look at my net. Then what happened was I found no fish in it! Perhaps, they seemed to have gotten away. I got deeply disappointed, heading for the parking lot. There I found my car broken. I thought to myself: 'How can I get through it?' I had to go home by taxi. I was going to eat fish I had caught but I got no fish. I couldn't have dinner on that day. I was really sad.

BBC Learning English says:
Hidemune, it is a terrible shame that you had to go hungry! But, on the bright side you can be pleased that your got vocabulary in this story is very well. You have used the vocabulary liberally and with many different examples. Be careful with 'I got off my car'. Got off is good vocabulary for vehicles where we are ON, like a ship or a bus. But for a car English uses the preposition IN, so we get out of the car. Good Job.



Last weekend, I babysat my cousin's kids. They were 10, 8 and 7. It was the first time that I got up to babysitting and I was excited because I really like children. The kids always seemed very nice and polite, so I was sure that this experience couldn't be less than great. Unfortunately, I was completely wrong. I even thought that I wouldn't get through that night. They fought each other and they screamed non-stop, because each one wanted see a different channel. So I got the control from their hands and I turned the TV off. Then things got worse because they started to cry a lot. Those kids are under control. I wonder how their parents are still alive. When I realise things were getting out of hand, I considered get away. Fortunatelly, at this moment, my cousin and his wife arrived. As magic, when the children saw their parents get off the car, they got nice and polite again. I think that I'll never babysit again.

BBC Learning English says:
Children can be a mixed blessing, can't they? I'm sure you did everything you could, Valdilene. There are some fights that you just can't win! Fortunately you won the fight against this vocabulary! There are some great examples of got vocabulary here. A couple of things: 1: Those kids are under control is the opposite of this situation - Those kids were out of control fits much better. 2: I considered get away should be getting away because of the verb consider, which is followed by an verb+ing. 3: we do not say get off a car - unless you are ON the car! It is better to say get out of the car. Excellent work!


Anna, Hongkong

Spring comes with gentle breeze blowing through a lake. A crowd of tadpoles are hatching from eggs laid earlier in the lake. They swim around, turning their little black heads and waving long tails, and try to get to their mother. They see a fish getting close so they swim for her and yell, “Mother!” “Dear babies,” the fish says, “I’m not your mother. Your mother has a pair of big eyes on the top of her head. Go seek her elsewhere.” Then she gets away.

Fortunately, before long the tadpoles find a goldfish swimming by, who has a pair of big eyes on the top of his head. They happily swim for him and yell, “Mother!”
The goldfish puffs a string of bubbles and says, “Lovely little things, I’m not your mother. Your mother has a white belly. Go get her elsewhere.” Things seem to get out of hand. But without other choice the tadpoles get underway for continued seeking.

Then comes a white goose swimming on the surface of water, with an obvious white belly facing down into the water. Without hesitation the tadpoles get close to her and yell again, “Mother!” The white goose bends her neck and ducks her head into water, smiling, “Sweat hearts, I’m not your mother.” She said, “Your mother has four legs. It’s easy to recognize. Go find her elsewhere.” The tadpoles sigh and say goodbye to her.

The bewildering tadpoles are discussing what on earth does their mother look like when a turtle gets in their way, paddling his legs for swimming. One, two, three, four! The tadpoles count his legs and excitingly find there are four. “We can’t get it wrong this time.” They think as rush towards the turtle and cry, “Mother!” Yet once again, the turtle shakes his head and tells them, “I’m not your mother, little things. Your mother wears green cloths and sings a croak-croak song. Go look for her elsewhere.”

“Things can’t get worse.” The frustrated tadpoles grunt, “Either everyone told a lie or our mother doesn’t even exist at all.” Right at that moment, they hear someone croaking nearby. There on a lotus leaf sits a frog, who has a pair of big eyes on top of her head, a white belly and four legs, wearing green cloths and singing a croak-croak song. But she looks nothing like a tadpole. The tadpoles exchange eye-connection with one another and wonder, “Have we got through a long journey to get up to a creature nothing like us as our mother?”

One of them gets forward and asks tentatively, “Are you our mother?” The frog croaks and replies, “Yes, my children, I’m your mother. Glad you all come to me finally.”
The other tadpoles swarm around her and shout, “Then why do you look absolutely different from us?” The mother frog grins, “Because you aren’t grown up yet.” She said, “When you grow up as frogs, you will be looking like me as well.”

The tadpoles cheer for their success, “Hooray! We have found our mother!” Time floats away with the water. When summer comes, the tadpoles have grown up into frogs. They sit on lotus leaves singing or get off leaves and go into fields to protect crops by preying on pests.

BBC Learning English says:
Anna, this is quite an impressive story! The use of descriptive words and the style of the writing is extremely talented. It was a joy to read. I'm also pleased to say that you have used a lot of get vocabulary largely in the correct way. However, there are one or two small problems: First, when the tadpoles meet a fish the text says Then she gets away. While this is understandable, it seems unusual. Get away means escape. This meaning does not fit here because the fish is not trapped or imprisoned. It would be better to say: Then she swam away or if you prefer Then she got on her way, which means started her journey. Secondly, the tadpoles get underway for continued seeking doesn't quite work either. It would be better to say The tadpoles got underway once again to continue seeking their mother. This is a great story and you should be proud. Good job.

End of Session 4

That's all for this session. Join us for Session 5 where Tim shows us how the word from is pronounced in natural spoken English. See you there!

Session Vocabulary

  • getting out of hand (C2)
    becoming hard to control

    get (A1)
    catch (in this context. The wider meaning is obtain)

    gets underway (C2)

    get (A2)

    get to (B2)
    have the opportunity to (do something)

    get away (B2)

    get worse (B1)
    become more unpleasant

    get off (A2)
    leave a vehicle

    get through (C1)
    survive a bad experience

    getting up to (something) (C2)
    being involved in; doing


    A1 = Beginner
    A2 = Elementary
    B1 = Lower Intermediate
    B2 = Higher Intermediate
    C1 = Towards Advanced
    C2 = Advanced