How to Use Have and Get in English - Improve English Grammar


Hi, I’m Kasia. Welcome to Oxford Online English! In this lesson, you can learn about

the verbshaveandget’.

Youll see ten different meanings ofhave’, and ten different meanings ofget’. Youll

also see examples, so you can learn to use the verbshaveandgetin different


This lesson has five parts. Each part starts with a short dialogue.

In each dialogue, there are two different ways to usehave’, and two different

ways to useget’.

We suggest that you watch each dialogue two or three times. Before you continue, try to

hear the different sentences withhaveandget’. Think about what they mean.

Then, watch the explainer section after the dialogue. You can check if you were right!

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Now, let’s see our first dialogue. Are you going out?

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

Ah, yeah, I remember. Are you walking?

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

OK, well, have a good time! Did you hear the four phrases withhave

andget’? Let’s see them.

Can you explain the meaning ofhaveandgethere?

Havecan meantake part in an event’, as in, ‘I have judo class.’

You could also say, ‘I have a 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.

Inhave a good time’, what do you thinkhavemeans?

Havecan also meanexperience.’ 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 ofhave’, the phrasehave atimeis 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 withget’?

Getcan meanarriveorreach’. You can say things like: ‘What time do you

think youll 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 useget

likecatchortake’, 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.’

Have you seen the email I sent you?

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

Can’t you look on your phone?

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

Great. Let me know what you think.

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 ofhavewas as an auxiliary verb: ‘Have you seen

the email I sent?’

What was the other usage ofhave’? It was: ‘My PC’s got some kind of problem.’

We usedhave gotas a form ofhave’. Well come back to this in a minute.

So, ‘havecan 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


Look at three examples of this: ‘I haven’t seen her all day.’

We hadn’t realised that we needed to bring our passports.’

Shell have finished all her exams by the end of July.’

In all three sentences, ‘haveis not the main verb. The main verbs aresee’,


Haveis used to form the perfect tense. The sentences are present perfect, past perfect

and future perfect, respectively.

Again, ‘havedoesn’t have its own meaning here. Whenhaveis an auxiliary verb,

it adds meaning to other words. It doesn’t mean anything by itself.

Actually, ‘haveis an auxiliary verb inhave got’, too.

Have gotis easy; it means the same ashavein the most basic sense.

You can say ‘I have a new phone’, or ‘I’ve got a new phone.’

You can sayThey have three children’, orTheyve got three children.’

There’s no difference in meaning, and it doesn’t matter which you say.

But, be careful! You can’t usehave gotto replace all other meanings ofhave’.

What aboutgetin the dialogue? You heard these phrases.

Any ideas? ‘Got ithere means ‘I received your

email’. ‘Getcan meanreceive’, 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, ‘getmeans to ask

someone to do something for you. Generally, you use the phraseget’, plus a person,

plustoplus 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.’

Did you get everything for tonight?

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.

What about drinks?

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.

Did you get a birthday card?

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

It’s getting lateDo you think there’s time to go out and get one now?

Maybe. Well have to leave right now.

We’? You forgot!

OK, OK, I’m going. This time, let’s start withget’. You

heard these phrases. Actually, you heard one or two more. But,

in most of these phrases, ‘gethas one meaning. Do you know what?

In the first three phrases, ‘getmeansbuy’. This is very common.

What about the last phrase: ‘It’s getting late’?

This is another common use ofget’. Here, ‘getmeansbecome’. 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 abouthavein the dialogue? ‘Havecan meaneatordrink’.

You canhave lunch’, ‘have a snack’, ‘have a cup of coffee’, and so on.

You also heardWell have to leave right now.’

Have tois a kind of modal verb. It means that something is necessary. The main

thing to remember is thathave todoesn’t have a connection withhave’. They look

similar, but theyre completely different verbs. They don’t have the same meaning,

and they don’t follow the same rules. You look exhausted! Is everything OK?

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


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

last week.

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

enough sleep.

Have you been to the doctor’s?

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

on Saturday.

Youre not going?

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

Oh yes, of course. Bothhaveandgetcan 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, and *having* an illness?

Get illis similar tocatch 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 illnessis similar tobe ill.’ You use it to describe the state of

being ill.

In this case, you can also usehave got’. You can say ‘I have a coldor ‘I’ve

got a cold.’

You also heard: ‘I’m not getting enough sleep.’

She’s just had her baby boy.’ Can you explain these?

This might sound confusing, butgetcan mean something similar tohave’,

especially when youre 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 ofgethere is something


What about the second sentence, withhave’?

Havecan mean to give birth. If you sayShe had a baby last week,’ you mean

that she gave birth.

What did you think?

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

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

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

Yes! It was gross.

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

Do you think theyll actually get a thousand a month for it? It seems way too high.

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.

HmmmAnyway, how many more places are we looking at today?

Look at four phrases from the dialogue. Do you know whatgetandhave

mean in these sentences? ‘Getcan meanunderstand’. ‘I

don’t get itmeans ‘I don’t understand.’

You could also sayDo you get what I mean?’ which meansDo you understand me?’

Havecan be used in certain phrases to meando an action’. You can have a

look, have a shower, have a walk, or have a nap.

For example, you might sayWe 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, ‘haveis used in the structurehave something done’.

This meansusuallythat 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 usegetin these phrases, with the same meaning, although it’s slightly

more informal. So, you can sayget your hair cut’, ‘get your house painted

orget your car repaired.’

Finally, ‘getcan be used to meanearn moneyormake money’. You can use

it to talk about salaries, as inPlumbers 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 usehaveandget’. We couldn’t fit every meaning

of these verbs into one lesson.

Here’s a question: can you find any other common meanings ofhaveorget’?

If you can, post the meaning and an example in the comments. You can learn more about

these verbs from other viewers, and check if your ideas are correct or not.

Thanks for watching!

See you next time!