By Paola Pascual on Jan 29, 2021 3:39:00 PM
When you’re at the office, do you take a message or do you get a message? It depends. They’re both correct but mean completely different things. The use of take and get is confusing for many English learners, and our goal here is to clarify the difference between these two common verbs and offer some activities to make sure you fully understand and don’t forget.
Although take and get have similar meanings in some contexts, there are clear differences and they can change the whole meaning of the sentence if we exchange them. Therefore, in this article we are going to look at the specific meanings of each verb and how they are different from each other.
The choice between these two verbs depends, in many cases, on how active the subject is and how many people you need to do the action. With take, the subject is active, and it doesn’t need anyone else to complete the action. With get, on the other hand, the subject usually receives something and needs another person. You can always download this guide in PDF with exercises and solutions.
What is the difference between take and get?
When to use TAKE
1. To actively grab something (usually using your hands) maybe for your own use
- Take my business card and call me if you have any questions.
- If you want more information, please take a leaflet.
- I always prefer to take a shower in the morning.
- If the headache doesn’t get any better, take this pill.
- Take an umbrella, it’s rainy season here.
2. To obtain something with or without permission
- I took a few candies from that stand.
- That man took my car while I was at the convention.
3. To change the location of something or someone (similar to ‘carry’)
- Take these copies to the meeting room, please.
- I need to take my daughter to school.
- When you come to New York for the convention, I’ll take you to a nice restaurant for lunch.
When to use GET
1. To receive something from another person
- She’s so happy because she got a raise.
- I got a great score in the test.
- What did you get for your anniversary?
- I left my phone at the counter and now it’s in Lost and Found, so I have to go get it.
2. To buy or acquire
- Where can I get a suit for the event?
- We need to get a new projector for the conference room.
3. To change state + adjective (similar to ‘become’)
Examples: get dark, get angry, get old, get hungry, get tired…
- If it gets dark, we’ll take a taxi.
- I used to like networking events more before, I must be getting old.
4. To understand
- I explained the new policies to the marketing manager, but honestly I don’t think he gets it.
- Oh, I get it now! I totally understand what you mean.
Compare these two examples with get and take
- Anna is not here now, may I take a message? (I’ll give Anna your message when she’s back)
- This morning I got a message from a new lead. (I received an interesting message)
Expressions with take and get
- TAKE -
Everyday collocations with take:
- Take a lesson
- Take the bus
- Take a photo
- Take a break/rest
- Take place
- Take a look
- Take someone/something for granted (to not appreciate someone or something properly)
Phrases and idioms you can use in a business situation:
- Take a decision (also make a decision)
- Take advantage of
- Take something into account (to consider something)
- Take part in
- Take something seriously
- Take a seat
- Take time off
- Take your time
- Take it easy (to be calm)
- Take care
- Take somebody to court
- Take a call/message
- Take a risk
- Take over (to gain control)
- Take someone on (to engage an employee)
- Take a stab at (to attempt something)
- Whatever it takes (anything necessary to achieve a goal)
- Take it or leave it (the offer is not negotiable)
- Take the plunge and… (make a decision and…)
- I take it that… (I assume that…)
- GET -
Everyday collocations with take:
- Get home
- Get married
- Get changed
- Get lost
- Get the phone (answer the phone)
- Get the message (receive the message)
- Get some sleep
- Get some flowers
- Get a ride
- Get a cold
- Get carried away
- Get in touch
- Get a ticket (receive a notice of a fine that you must pay)
More advanced expressions with get:
- As good as it gets (nothing better is possible)
- Get down to business (to start working)
- Get the ball rolling (to start something)
- Get off the ground (to start happening successfully)
- Get ahead (to be successful in your career or life)
- Get through to someone (to successfully contact someone on the phone)
Time to practice the difference with these exercises!
A. Complete the sentences with take or get in the correct tense.
- 1. If you want more information, please __ my business card and write me.
- 2. They didn’t offer me a brochure, I had to __ it myself.
- 3. Where did you __ all those leads from?
- 4. I’m __ English lessons with Talaera, have you heard of them?
- 5. What score did you __ in the technical test?
- 6. __ a raise shouldn’t be so complicated!
- 7. Did you __ through to Sandra? I’ve tried calling her a few times without any success.
- 8. I love conferences! People always give you swags… Today I __ so many things!
- 9. I don’t know if anyone __ my keys, but I can’t find them anywhere.
- 10. Could you please __ this dossier to Mrs. Hartford?
- 11. I should __ a suit for the event, I don’t have one yet.
- 12. I’ve read the text a million times, and still don’t __ it.
- 13. Where are you going to __ me when I visit you in Tel Aviv?
- 14. It’s a bit cloudy, should I __ my umbrella?
- 15. __ risks is sometimes the most sensible idea.
- 16. Looga __ over our startup 3 years ago.
- 17. I’m sorry, I can’t offer you anything else. You __ it or you leave it.
- 18. I __ that you’re interested in our program?
- 19. The course is as good as it __.
- 20. We don’t have so much time, so let’s __ the ball rolling.
B. Finish the sentences with two words so that they make sense.
- 1. If you have any questions, please get __ __ with us and we’ll be happy to answer.
- 2. I really like Sally, she did great in the test. I think we should take __ __.
- 3. How did you get back home? In the end I had to get __ __ from one of my coworkers.
- 4. Mr. Alvarez will be here in 15 minutes. In the meantime, please take __ __.
- 5. It’s not an easy decision, but I’ll take __ __ and quit my job.
- 6. We’re not in a rush, we can take __ __ with this event.
- 7. Would you like to take __ __ at managing this new project?
- 8. The meetup will take __ __ the canteen.
- 9. All she wants is to get __ __ her career.
- 10. Someone’s calling - would you please get __ __ while I finish writing this email?
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