I used to work with a client, Sara, who had been working in the UK for 3 years when I met her. She already was clearly an advanced speaker of English & could operate fine day to day in her role, but she came to me because she was frustrated that she only had one way of saying something in English.
She wanted to have a broader range of phrases to express herself, in a more nuanced way.
Idioms & expressions are a great way to make your English communication sound more natural, and your language richer, which ultimately allows you to connect better with the people you interact with.
But where do you start?
Well, I recommend looking at idioms & expressions with the word ‘get’, as they are so common in English and for that reason easy to confuse. Here is my selection for you to try out, with a definition & an example for each of how to use them.
To get the opportunity to do something
Meaning = to have the chance.
Example =Rob finally got the opportunity to lead a project with the client.
To get a/ your foot in the door.
Meaning = to start at a company at a low level or with an unpaid opportunity, with the potential to develop your career.
Example = Sandra’s internship was a great way for her to get a foot in the door & show her skills.
To get round to doing something.
Meaning = to finally start something, which you have had in mind for a long time.
Example = Steve had been talking about it for a while so when the management changed, he finally got round to applying for a new job.
To get the joke.
Meaning = to understand what people are laughing about.
Example = Even though everybody was laughing, Kate didn’t get the joke at all.
To get hold of somebody.
Meaning = to successfully reach somebody to talk to them.
Example = I tried all morning, but I couldn’t get hold of Sam by phone or messenger.
To get back to you.
Meaning = to reply or return a call.
Example = Sam finally got back to me later in the afternoon.
To not get anywhere with something.
Meaning = to make no progress.
Example = Even though Susan had been working on the project for a month already, she hadn’t got anywhere with attracting any customers.
To get through to somebody.
Meaning = to successfully communicate your message so it is understood.
Example = Nick gave Jennifer feedback a few times, but it took him a while to get through to her what she needed to focus on changing.
To get the message.
Meaning = to understand what is going on, even if it is not clear or communicated directly.
Example = Jennifer finally got the message when Nick sat down with her for the third time.
To get your act together.
Meaning = to organise yourself to improve your situation.
Example = Chris has been talking about moving house for a long time, but it was the current changes in the market which motivated him to get his act together & finally do it.
To get on like a house on fire.
Meaning = to have a good connection with somebody & be great friends.
Example = As soon as I met Diane, we got on like a house on fire.
To get down to something.
Meaning = to focus & make something happen.
Example = David kept procrastinating, but eventually he had to get down to starting the task because the deadline was close.
To not get a word in edgeways.
Meaning = to not be able to talk because the other person has so much to say.
Example = My friend Natalie is so chatty it is difficult to get a word in edgeways sometimes!
To get your wires crossed.
Meaning = to be confused or mixed up about something.
Example = Harry thought Rebeca was sending the report, but she thought he was doing it. They got their wires crossed.
To get your head around something.
Meaning = to fully understand something.
Example = It took Mel a while, but he finally got his head around how to approach the problem.
Hope that has been helpful! Do you have any other favourite expressions with ‘get’ that you like to use? Or any more questions on other types of idioms or expressions?
Reply to me here, and happy to answer them.
Victoria Rennoldson, Founder of Perfect Cuppa English
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