https://www.duolingo.com/SinisterSouthpaw

Duo Diaries: Thursday, June 28, 2018 "Get" is not your friend

I had a conversation with a Spanish speaker not too long ago, and during this conversation, I wanted to grab a bite to eat (we were seated in a food court in a mall). So, naturally, I asked him “¿Como se dice “I want to get something to eat” en español?” What followed was a very enlightening conversation.

You see, the word “get” in English is like our Swiss Army knife. We can use it to express so many different ideas. By itself, it usually means “to obtain” (I have to get one of those). However, when combined with various prepositions or when used in different contexts, the meaning completely changes. “Get down” can literally mean to come down from a high place, or to shake your groove thing. Then there’s “get up”, “get away,” and “get over here” (as made famous by Scorpion from Mortal Kombat). You can “get to” a location or a person, but they don’t mean the same thing. “Get back” could be a warning, or it could be what you do to a rival. We can “get in” and “get out”. We can simply “get” someone or something (as in understanding a concept, joke, or person). When karma strikes, we’re often told “that’s what you get.” Sometimes, in some places, a person can tell you to leave by simply saying “get”, although usually it sounds more like “git” in this instance.

Now is where I will “get to the point” of all of this. Because we English speakers use “get” so often, we sometimes can “get (as in “become”) confused” when trying to say things in Spanish because as Marco explained to me in the food court, Spanish doesn’t use “get” the way we do.

Before you fire back with “What about OBTENER and CONSEGUIR?!” Yes, those words do mean “get (as in “obtain”)”, but they aren’t relied on as heavily as the English “get.” For example, Marco informed me that, in Spanish, I wouldn’t say “I want to get something to eat.” He informed me that usually, English “get” can be substituted or left out entirely when it is used to mean “obtain: “Quiero algo de comer” - “I want something to eat.”

I thought about what he said - that “get” can often be omitted and/or substituted - and started thinking about how this would sound in English:

“Get that for me” turns into “Give that to me”. “I need to get one” turns into “I need one” or “I need to buy one”. “Get over here” turns into “Come here”. “Get away from me” turns into “Go away”.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

Since this realization, it has become considerably easier to form certain thoughts in my head, then produce Spanish phrases and sentences that are clear as a result. You often hear that you shouldn’t try to translate from one language to the other. True, but when you can, why not?

I pose this challenge to readers of this post. Think of English “get” sentences, and post them in the space below. Perhaps we can take turns rewording and then translating them for practice.

Lastly but not leastly (I know that is not a “real” word), I have a small group - currently only 4 participants. I am an externally motivated person who needs competition. I figure the best way to get more members is to advertise, so...

Join the group, Club Code 24Z8KX . See you soon!

5 months ago

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/IDlearning

Interesting point. I still try to have conversation with a native speakers and i am frustrated when they say they don't understand much of what I am saying. https://idiallo.com/blog/no-spanish-with-duo?ref=duo

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnKidd4
AnnKidd4
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just keep going.... it will get better eventually ... and you will get it - as will they !

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SinisterSouthpaw

it will get better = se va a mejorar

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/James24601

Hey! I know you! I was reading BBC News in Spanish (to practice) a few days ago and saw/read the "The Machine Fired Me" story! I ended up on the blog you just linked reading it. Really Interesting stuff!

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Seattle_scott
Seattle_scottPlus
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If you’re learning English you better get on the word get or you’ll never get English. It’s one of the most important words in English.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SinisterSouthpaw

Right. I guess in the other direction (learning English), if your mother tongue doesn't have "get", or at least doesn't use it to the extent that we do, there is no way you'll ever sound natural.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mikemcdonald58
mikemcdonald58
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Good post. I noticed the same thing and have changed the use of my sentence structure even when I speak English now.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FredGold
FredGold
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what's the group for..? and where do i use the code..?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SinisterSouthpaw

The group is used in the app form of Duolingo. It is a place to compete for first place (by virtue of most points earned) during the week. Friendly competition keeps folks motivated.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jujedrychowska

Club Code doesn't work :( it is too long, I can't use it

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SinisterSouthpaw

Unfortunate that it did not work for you, however others have joined using it. Try again maybe?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jujedrychowska

finally it worked! see you there :)

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vincent051
Vincent051
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Get lost !!!

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Clay189902

I get it ! (I understand)

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dutchesse722
Dutchesse722
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I have to get going! (I have to leave); I can't get going today (I'm having a hard time accomplishing things today); Get it done! (Do it! or Finish it!)

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tataflori

"Get" for me is a 'key verb' haha, it fits in every context. But now, by your point of view, guess you're right.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SinisterSouthpaw

Just thought of one that I can't reword: Get over it.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert376151
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It's over!

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jane254678

Maybe "Deal with it" ?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nashrambler
nashrambler
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bien nota. Gracias

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sameerxk

I'm happy for you and your epiphany though.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SinisterSouthpaw

My wife used a good one yesterday: to get along with someone...

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jane254678

How about "Cooperate and coexist peacefully" ?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jane254678

Or maybe "Be kind to one another" ?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnnKidd4
AnnKidd4
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get on someone's nerves = poner nervioso a alguien..... I hope you get this post - espero que recibas esta publicación.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kjusa
kjusa
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thanks

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jane254678

In Latin, the word "ago," or "agere" in the infinitive, functions pretty much the same way that "get" functions in English. It is one of those generic, workhorse verbs, like "to do," in English.

5 months ago
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