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What does "get over" mean?

Kevin Naglich
Sales Engineer English Coach

What does get over mean? There are five common uses. Let's find out what they are by doing some deliberate practice.

Get over with relationships or bad situations

What do you think get over means in this sentence? Can you think of a synonym?

Here, it basically means "to recover." Specifically, to start to feel happy or well again after something bad happened to you. This sentence basically has the same meaning as, "How do I recover after a heartbreak? How do I recover after a divorce or an affair?"

It can also be used regarding relationships. In other words, to start to feel happy again or forget someone after a relationship has ended. How would you use it to complete this sentence?

It took him months to get over his last girlfriend.

It's also very common to use get over as a command when you want to tell someone to recover from something. Specifically, when you want them to stop complaining or being upset over a bad situation or relationship. How does it fit in this conversation?

Just go without me. I don't feel like doing anything now that Krista left me. Get over it! That was like six months ago. You'll find someone else.

Get over with problems

What do you think get over means here?

In this case, we're talking about finding a way to solve a difficult problem. This is just like saying, "We can build telescopes which can solve these problems."

How can you use it here?

There are a few more challenges to get over before we can launch the product.

Get it over with 

Two down, three to go. What do you think it means here?

It means that you want to finish something so that you can start to do something else instead, or you want to finish something so you can stop worrying about it.

How does it fit here?

Let's get this speech over with, so we can start planning our next vacation!

How about this sentence? 

I can't wait to get this exam over with.

And how about here? Be careful with your verb tenses.

You would have felt much better by now if you had gotten it over with last month.

Get over with surprising or funny situations 

Good job. We're more than halfway there. Here's the next sentence. Any guesses on what "can't get over" means?

In this case, it means that you continue to be very surprised by something or that you still find something very funny.

This sentence is the same thing as saying, "I am still surprised by the fact that those guys came into our plant not once but twice."

How can you use it here?

Is that your girlfriend? I can't get over how beautiful she is.

How does it fit in this sentence?

That was the funniest thing you've ever said. I still can't get over it.

Get over as a command 

Here's the last sentence. What do you think it means?

It's pretty much the same thing as telling someone to come here. You come here right now, Veronica!

You can also use it with the word there instead of here. In this case, the meaning is very similar to arrive at. How do you think it fits?

I should be able to get over there by 5 pm. You can also just say, "I should be able to get there by 5 pm", without any change in meaning.

Be careful, though. While it's common to say "get there" in many situations, we'd usually only say "get here" or "get there" without the word "over" in questions or statements. "Do you think you can get here by 5 pm?" sounds fine.

However, in a command like in our first sentence, it sounds awkward without the "over."

This last exercise is a very common threat that parents tell their children. What should it be?

If you don't get over here right this instant, you're grounded for a month! (Grounded, of course, means that a child is not allowed to leave their house or see their friends)

Get Over Cheat Sheet

Well done! You now should have a much better feel for how you can use the phrasal verb "get over." Reading this article just once won't be enough for you to master it, however. For that, you need practice.

Want to know how I recommend you practice? Use the form below to get a FREE 3-step ebook. It's full of advice and recommendations that will help you improve your English even on busy days.

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