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  1. #1
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    to get to do something= to have a chance

    I'm struggling to make a sentence for a vocabulary exercise in which I need to use the verb to get to do something. Would it be correct if I said: Jim's brother is in his second year at university. He is studying hard. But he always takes a timeout to do things with Jim whenever he gets to do it.

    Or could you please help me use to get to do smth in some other way in the same context?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 22-Jul-2017 at 18:29.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. #2
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    Your post reminded me of my seventh grade English teacher. Whenever we would whine about having to know something and say, "Oh, do we have to?" He'd say, "No- you get to!"
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 23-Jul-2017 at 00:17.

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    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    Your post reminded me of my seventh grade English teacher. Whenever we would whine about have to know something and say, "Oh, do we have to?" He'd say, "No- you get to!"
    And what about my example? Is it incorrect?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  4. #4
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    Jim's brother is in his second year at university. He is studying hard. But he always takes a timeout to do things with Jim whenever he gets to do it.
    Sorry- not very good. Better as: But he always takes a timeout to do things with Jim whenever he can.


    'Get to' is fairly common in the context of being allowed to do something we want to do: 'Tomorrow is my birthday, so I get to choose what we will have for dinner. Of course choose is something we do, as are most verbs, so maybe that will be okay- it depends how emphatic you are about the exact word "do".

    Do ____ phrases are more often negative, as in do my homework, do pushups, do the dishes, etc. and not typically things we hope the get to do. Perhaps others will offer better examples.

    So it's a bit more difficult if you insist on using the exact words "get to do",(have to do is more common, IMHO). The examples that came immediately to my mind are sarcastic: 'My brother always took out the trash, but he's away at university, so now I get to do it- ugh!'
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 23-Jul-2017 at 00:58.

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    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    'Tomorrow is my birthday, so I get to choose what we will have for dinner.'
    'My brother always took out the trash, but he's away at university, so now I get to do it- ugh!'
    Then I'm confused again about the meaning of get to (do or some other verb). In the dictionary it means 'to have a possibility to do something'. I can't see this 'possibility' either in your example with the birthday present or in the one with the trash
    I don't insist on using the verb do in get to do, it may be any other verb. The problem is that I can't grasp the meaning of this structure to get to (do) something.

    If you're talking about 'get to do something' = 'to have to do something', there are two meanings then. And I know how to use to get to (do) = to have to (do). The confusion for me is the meaning of this structure in sentences like this:
    My uncle lives in Australia, so I never get to see him or his family. ('Get to' doesn't mean 'have to' here, right?)
    Get to see in the example above means "have a chance, a possibility", right? I want to learn to make my own senteces with the verb get to (do) in THIS meaning ('to have a chance'), not only with get to see. What other examples of get to do with the meaning of 'have a chance' (not only with the verb 'see', but with other verbs, too) can you think of (where 'get'='get the chance ')?

    Here's the meaning I'm interested in:

    [ I + to infinitive ] to have the chance to do something:
    I never get to see her now that she works somewhere else.

    Source:
    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/get
    Last edited by englishhobby; 23-Jul-2017 at 12:31.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    Yes, there are two meanings. Here are some examples for the meaning you want:
    "Sorry, you don't get to make your own sentences."
    "When I'm staying at my grandmother's place, I get to eat ice cream every night."

    The "have to" meaning is possibly a later ironic use of the "choose to/have an opportunity to" meaning, as in J&K's last sentence above.
    The two meanings are contained in, "How come you get to watch TV and I get to clean the toilet?"

  7. #7
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    I'm sorry if I made it seem as if have to is the same as get to. They are not the same. They are not interchangeable. What I meant to point out is that "have to do ___" is rather more common than "get to do ___". Not many people would say, "I get to do my homework." It's much more common to hear, "I have to do my homework."

    I would not describe get to ___ as a possibility. There is always the possibility to do something. I prefer to think of an opportunity or permission to do something that you want to do. Have to ___ is a requirement- you do not have a choice. It's not something you want to do, you simply must.

    Since it is now clear that you are not looking for sentences with the exact words "get to do ___", then there are any number of sentences that could work for you.

    I get to go swimming.
    I get to choose my birthday dinner.
    I get to watch TV.
    You get to go to the cinema, but I have to stay home.

    Perhaps my last example might suggest a way to help your students understand get to. Compare and contrast have to and get to. What kinds of things do we have to do? What kinds of things can we get to do?
    Last edited by J&K Tutoring; 23-Jul-2017 at 15:15.

  8. #8
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    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Yes, there are two meanings. Here are some examples for the meaning you want:
    "Sorry, you don't get to make your own sentences."
    "When I'm staying at my grandmother's place, I get to eat ice cream every night."
    The sentence with the ice-ream is very helpful, thanks. But I don't understand the one about making my own sentences. Could you please rephrase it?
    If we use a dictionary definition, it means "Sorry, you don't have the chance to make your own sentences" and that makes no sense for me.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    That sentence was a reaction to your "I want to learn to make my own sentences with the verb get to (do)" Sorry, I didn't think long before writing that one. As it is, it's a proper sentence, the meaning is as you've inferred, but it's only an example sentence, not a reply!

  10. #10
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    Re: to get to do something= to have a chance

    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post

    Since it is now clear that you are not looking for sentences with the exact words "get to do ___", then there are any number of sentences that could work for you.

    I get to go swimming.
    I get to choose my birthday dinner.
    I get to watch TV.
    You get to go to the cinema, but I have to stay home.

    Thanks, but I'm still puzzled. Could you say, in what communicative situation can I say "I get to watch TV', why I should say it instead of "I'm going to watch TV" or "I'll go and watch TV"? Or what is a synonymous sentence?


    Quote Originally Posted by J&K Tutoring View Post
    What kinds of things can we get to do?
    I can imagine some kind of things I can get to do, but I can't understand the reason of using it. It's not "I can..."? it's not "I like", it's not "I'm going to..", it's not "I will..." it sounds like a phrasal verb I I haven't heard before. What's the closest in meaning sentence to "I get to watch TV"?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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