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How to Use Have and Get – Video

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In this lesson, you can learn about the verbs ‘have’ and ‘get’.

You’ll see ten different meanings of ‘have’, and ten different meanings of ‘get’. You’ll also see examples, so you can learn to use the verbs ‘have’ and ‘get’ in English in different ways.

QUIZ: How to Use Have and Get

Now, test your knowledge of what you learned in the lesson by trying this quiz. You will get your score at the end, when you can click on ‘View Questions’ to see all the correct answers.

This lesson has five parts. Each part starts with a short dialogue. In each dialogue, there are two different ways to use ‘have’, and two different ways to use ‘get’. We suggest that you watch each dialogue two or three times. Before you continue, try to hear the different sentences with ‘have’ and ‘get’. Think about what they mean. Then, watch the explainer section after the dialogue. You can check if you were right! Now, let’s see our first dialogue.

Part 1

Kasia: Are you going out?

Olivier: I have judo class. It’s the first one after the holidays.

K: Ah, yeah, I remember. Are you walking?

O: I need to get there before seven, so I think I’ll get a taxi. I’ll be late otherwise.

K: OK, well, have a good time!

Did you hear the four phrases with ‘have’ and ‘get’? Let’s see them.

  • I have judo class.
  • Have a good time!
  • I need to get there before seven.
  • I think I’ll get a taxi.

Can you explain the meaning of ‘have’ and ‘get’ here? ‘Have’ can mean ‘take part in an event’, as in:

  • I have judo class.

People doing judo
2012 London Olympic Games
Korea Judo, Kim Jae-bum won the Semi-Final -81kg match
Photo by Korean Olympic Committee
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Korean Culture and Information Service
2012 런던 올림픽
한국 남자 유도 -81kg 김재범 준결승전
사진제공 – 대한체육회

You could also say,

  • I have a business meeting tomorrow morning.
  • She has a tennis tournament on Saturday.
  • What time do you have your Spanish lesson?

You can use this with meetings, classes, social events, and more. In ‘have a good time’, what do you think ‘have’ means? ‘Have’ can also mean ‘experience.’ For example:

  • We had a lot of fun at their wedding.
  • He’s having a lot of problems at school at the moment.
  • I’ve been having a stressful time at work recently.

With this meaning of ‘have’, the phrase ‘have a … time’ is useful. Put an adjective in the space: have a good time, have a bad time, have a difficult time, and so on. What about the phrases with ‘get’? ‘Get’ can mean ‘arrive’ or ‘reach’. You can say things like:

  • What time do you think you’ll get here?
  • The train gets to Berlin at four o’clock.

In the dialogue, you also heard, ‘I’ll get a taxi.’ You can also use ‘get’ like ‘catch’ or ‘take’, meaning to use a form of transport. So, you can get the metro, get a bus, get a taxi, and so on. For example:

  • If we get the subway, will we be on time?
  • It’s not worth spending so much for such a short flight. Let’s get the boat.

Part 2

Olivier: Have you seen the email I sent?

Kasia: No. My PC’s got some kind of problem. I can’t connect to the Internet.

O: Can’t you look on your phone?

K: Yes, I suppose I can… Yup, got it. I’ll look at it right now.

O: Great. Let me know what you think.

K: Will do. I need to get someone to fix my computer, though. I don’t like using my phone for work stuff.

This dialogue was a little different. Can you see how? In the dialogue, one of the uses of ‘have’ was as an auxiliary verb:

  • Have you seen the email I sent?

What was the other usage of ‘have’? It was:

  • My PC’s got some kind of problem.

My computer has a problem

We used ‘have got’ as a form of ‘have’. We’ll come back to this in a minute. So, ‘have’ can be an auxiliary verb, especially in perfect tenses. In this case, ‘have’ doesn’t have its own meaning. Instead, it’s a grammar word; it’s used to make a verb form. Look at three examples of this:

  • I haven’t seen her all day.
  • We hadn’t realised that we needed to bring our passports.
  • She’ll have finished all her exams by the end of July.

In all three sentences, ‘have’ is not the main verb. The main verbs are ‘see’, ‘realise’ and ‘finish’. ‘Have’ is used to form the perfect tense. The sentences are present perfect, past perfect and future perfect, respectively. Again, ‘have’ doesn’t have its own meaning here. When ‘have’ is an auxiliary verb, it adds meaning to other words. It doesn’t mean anything by itself. Actually, ‘have’ is an auxiliary verb in ‘have got’, too. ‘Have got’ is easy; it means the same as ‘have’ in the most basic sense. You can say ‘I have a new phone’, or ‘I’ve got a new phone.’ You can say ‘They have three children’, or ‘They’ve got three children.’ There’s no difference in meaning, and it doesn’t matter which you say. But, be careful! You can’t use ‘have got’ to replace all other meanings of ‘have’. What about ‘get’ in the dialogue? You heard these phrases.

  • Got it.
  • I need to get someone to fix my computer.

Any ideas? ‘Got it’ here means ‘I received your email’. ‘Get’ can mean ‘receive’, so you can get an email, get a text message, get a present, and so on. For example:

  • I got a new tablet for my birthday.
  • Did you get my message?

In the second phrase, ‘get’ means to ask someone to do something for you. Generally, you use the phrase ‘get’, plus a person, plus ‘to’ plus verb. You could also say:

  • She’s too old to look after the garden, so I got someone to help her once a month.
  • I’m no good at DIY, so I got someone to paint my living room.

Part 3

Kasia: Did you get everything for tonight?

Olivier: Let’s see: I got stuff for sandwiches, nachos, dips, and veggies for dipping. If people are still hungry later, we can order pizzas. I guess they can also have the curry I made last night, if they really want.

K: What about drinks?

O: I’m guessing people will bring drinks, but there’s some wine and a few beers which people can have. Plus, there’s juice for everyone who isn’t drinking.

K: Did you get a birthday card?

O: Ah, crap! I knew I’d forgotten something.

K: It’s getting late… Do you think there’s time to go out and get one now?

O: Maybe. We’ll have to leave right now.

K: ‘We’? You forgot!

O: OK, OK, I’m going.

This time, let’s start with ‘get’. You heard these phrases.

  • Did you get everything for tonight?
  • I got stuff for sandwiches.
  • Did you get a birthday card?
  • It’s getting late.

Actually, you heard one or two more. But, in most of these phrases, ‘get’ has one meaning. Do you know what? In the first three phrases, ‘get’ means ‘buy’. This is very common. What about the last phrase: ‘It’s getting late’? This is another common use of ‘get’. Here, ‘get’ means ‘become’. Let’s see some more examples:

  • My water bottle came open in my bag, so my books got wet.
  • Can we turn on the heating? It’s getting really cold in here.
  • Renting an apartment is getting ridiculously expensive.

What about ‘have’ in the dialogue? ‘Have’ can mean ‘eat’ or ‘drink’. You can ‘have lunch’, ‘have a snack’, ‘have a cup of coffee’, and so on. You also heard ‘We’ll have to leave right now.’ ‘Have to’ is a kind of modal verb. It means that something is necessary. The main thing to remember is that ‘have to’ doesn’t have a connection with ‘have’. They look similar, but they’re completely different verbs. They don’t have the same meaning, and they don’t follow the same rules.

Part 4

Olivier: You look exhausted! Is everything OK?

Kasia: Ugh… I’m alright, just a bit ill. I got a cold or a virus of some kind a few days ago.

O: There’s something going around. A lot of people at my office had something similar last week.

K: I think it might be stress-related, too. I’ve been working a lot, and I’m not getting enough sleep.

O: Have you been to the doctor’s?

K: No, I’m just going to stay at home and rest. It’s a shame; I was planning to visit Sarah on Saturday.

O: You’re not going?

K: I can’t! She’s just had her baby boy. She got home from the hospital two days ago.

O: Oh yes, of course.

Both ‘have’ and ‘get’ can be used to talk about illness. In the dialogue, you heard these:

  • I got a cold or a virus of some kind a few days ago.
  • A lot of people at my office had something similar last week.

What do you think: what’s the difference between getting an illness or sickness, and having an illness or sickness? ‘Get ill’ is similar to ‘catch an illness’. You use it to talk about the start of an illness. Often, you can use both words. You can say ‘I got a cold’, or ‘I caught a cold’. There’s no difference. ‘Have an illness’ is similar to ‘be ill.’ You use it to describe the state of being ill. In this case, you can also use ‘have got’. You can say ‘I have a cold’ or ‘I’ve got a cold.’

Having an illness or sickness

You also heard:

  • I’m not getting enough sleep.
  • She’s just had her baby boy.

Can you explain these? This might sound confusing, but ‘get’ can mean something similar to ‘have’, especially when you’re talking about lifestyle habits like sleep, diet, exercise and so on. So, you can say:

  • He doesn’t get enough fruit and vegetables in his diet.
  • I definitely don’t get enough exercise.
  • I get about seven hours of sleep every night.

The meaning of ‘get’ here is something between ‘have’ and ‘do’. What about the second sentence, with ‘have’? ‘Have’ can mean to give birth. If you say ‘She had a baby last week,’ you mean that she gave birth.

Part 5

Kasia: What did you think?

Olivier: I didn’t like it. Plus, the rent was way too high for such a small place.

K: I don’t get it. Why show people an apartment in such a bad state?

O: Yeah, I know. I guess it’s a seller’s market. Did you have a look at the bathroom?

K: Yes! It was gross.

O: You’d need to have the whole place redecorated, and even then it wouldn’t be a good deal.

K: Do you think they’ll actually get a thousand a month for it? It seems way too high.

O: Salaries around here are pretty high. People get a lot of money, even for basic jobs. I agree it’s not a good deal, but I imagine someone will probably take it.

K: Hmmm… Anyway, how many more places are we looking at today?

Look at four phrases from the dialogue.

  • I don’t get it.
  • Did you have a look at the bathroom?
  • You’d need to have the whole place redecorated.
  • People get a lot of money.

Do you know what ‘get’ and ‘have’ mean in these sentences? ‘Get’ can mean ‘understand’. ‘I don’t get it’ means ‘I don’t understand.’ You could also say ‘Do you get what I mean?’ which means ‘Do you understand me?’ ‘Have’ can be used in certain phrases to mean ‘do an action’. You can have a look, have a shower, have a walk, or have a nap. For example, you might say

  • We had a short walk before dinner.
  • I wish I could have a nap in the afternoon. I get so sleepy after lunch!

In the third sentence, ‘have’ is used in the structure ‘have something done’. This means—usually—that you pay someone else for a service. For example, you can have your hair cut, have your house painted, or have your car repaired. In all of these, the idea is the same: you pay someone else to do the work for you. You can also use ‘get’ in these phrases, with the same meaning, although it’s slightly more informal. So, you can say ‘get your hair cut’, ‘get your house painted’ or ‘get your car repaired.’ Finally, ‘get’ can be used to talk about money to mean ‘earn money’ or ‘make money’. You can use it to talk about salaries, as in:

  • Plumbers can get over three K a month around here.

You can also use it for other things. For example:

  • I got fifteen hundred pounds for my old car.

This means you sold your old car, and you made one thousand five hundred pounds from the sale.

Of course, there are other ways to use ‘have’ and ‘get’. We couldn’t fit every meaning of these verbs into one lesson. Thanks for watching this lesson from Oxford Online English!

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