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get + past participle

Two questions this week on the use of
plus past participle:

Gholam ali Sobat from Iran writes:

Would you please advise me by explaining the differences between married and got married and their use?

Kyoko from Japan writes:

I always check the question and answer web page. It helps me to improve my poor English.
I have got a lot of questions.
One of them is get in the following sentence:
Can you get your work finished by noon?
Can you finish your work by noon?
Is there very much difference between the two?

Roger Woodham replies:

get + past participle

There is not very much difference between use of the active verb and get with the past participle in these examples. When we use the get construction, it sometimes makes what we are saying more immediate. Compare the following:

He married a girl from Texas.
(Here the question is who not when, and got married to would be more clumsy.)

We got married on New Year's Day. (Here we are focusing on the day itself.)

Can you get this done by Friday? ~ Hm. This sounds quite urgent. No problem.

Can you do this by Friday? ~ Hm. This doesn't sound too urgent. That should be OK.


We frequently use get with.. engaged/married/divorced/lost/dressed/changed/washed:

When are you going to get dressed? You'll be late for school.

I'm just going to get changed. Will you wait for me?

Don't get lost on the mountains. Make sure you've got a detailed map and a compass.

They went out together for about three months and then they got engaged.

Note that although we could substitute dress or change for get dressed and get changed in the above examples, we would have to say lose yourselves as an alternative to get lost.
There is no alternative for get engaged.


get + past participle = be + past participle

To make passive structures in informal spoken English, we sometime use get instead of be with the past participle:

Our cat got run over last Friday when it was trying to cross the road. (= was run over)

I know you'll get hurt if you carry on with this relationship.
(= be hurt)

I got caught doing 120 mph on the M1 and now I've got to go to court. (= was caught)

I don't get paid very much for delivering newspapers.
(= am not paid)

      get + object + past participle

In informal spoken English, when we are talking about having things done for us by others, we sometimes prefer to say get something done instead of have something done:

When are you going to get your car insured? ~ As soon as I can afford it!

David is getting his head shaved, just like all the other footballers.

Why don't you get your winter coat dry-cleaned? It will look like new.

Remember to get your passport renewed in time - don't leave it until just before you go!

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