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Past Participles With Get

Past participles can be used with the verb get. Get may be followed by a wide variety of adjectives and may occur in any tense, including in a progressive form.

  • I’m getting hungry. Let’s go pick up some food soon.
  • I stopped working, because I got dizzy.
  • You shouldn’t eat so much. You will get fat.

Following is a list of adjectives commonly used with get.

angrydizzyold
anxiousemptysick
bald(very) farsleepy
betterheavytall
bighotthirsty
busyhungrywarm
chillylatewell
coldmadwet
darknervousworse

In the structure get + past participle, the past participle functions as an adjective; it describes the subject noun or pronoun of the sentence. Consider the following examples.

  • They are getting engaged next week.
  • Dad got worried, because Lola was three hours late and didn’t bother to call.

Using get + past participle instead of be + past participle indicates a changing situation. The meaning of get in the above sentences is similar to the meaning of become. Compare the examples above with the following.

  • They will become engaged next week.
  • Dad became worried, because Lola was three hours late and didn’t bother to call.

This structure with get can occur in any tense.

PRESENTThey get tired.
PRESENT PROGRESSIVEThey are getting tired a lot lately.
PRESENT PERFECTThey have gotten tired.
PRESENT PERFECT PROGRESSIVEThey have been getting tired a lot lately.
PASTThey got tired.
PAST PROGRESSIVEThey were getting tired a lot lately.
PAST PERFECTThey had gotten tired.
PAST PERFECT PROGRESSIVEThey had been getting tired a lot lately.
FUTUREThey will get tired.
FUTURE PROGRESSIVEThey will be getting tired after just a few minutes of exercise.
FUTURE PERFECTThey will have gotten tired.
FUTURE PERFECT PROGRESSIVEThey will have been getting tired after just a few minutes of exercise.

All the tense forms are grammatically correct. Some, such as the future perfect progressive, are avoided, however, because they sound awkward. A simpler tense is used in place of such awkward phrases.

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