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The Many Ways To Say "To Get" in Spanish

Do you know how to say "to get" in Spanish? Due to the numerous ways in which this word can be used in English, there is no "one size fits all" translation for this term. That said, let's explore the many meanings of the verb "to get" in English and learn their Spanish equivalents.


Meanings of "To Get" and Their Spanish Equivalents

Breaking down the verb "to get" in English into many of its possible definitions, let's find out which verbs are used to express these ideas in Spanish and hear them in context. 


1. To obtain or acquire: obtener, conseguir


"Efectivamente. Acaba de conseguir otro trabajo".

"Indeed. He just got another job."

Caption 60, Carlos explica 20 formas de decir sí sin decir sí

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2. To receive: recibir, tener


"Hoy recibí la carta".

"Today, I got the letter."

Caption 46, Carlos explica Los artículos en español - Part 2

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Note that while the verb tener typically means "to have," it is a word that sometimes changes meaning in the preterite tense. Hence "Tuve una noticia" could be translated as "I got some news."


3. To achieve, win, or earn: sacar, ganar, obtener


lograr obtener un buen resultado en el examen. 

to manage to get a good grade on the exam.

Caption 42, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 1

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Este... Saqué el bachillerato 

Um... I got my high school diploma,

Caption 50, Cleer Entrevista a Giluancar

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4. To fetch or bring: traer


voy y te traigo la cerveza. 

I'll go, and I'll get you the beer.

Caption 39, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 12 - Part 6

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5. To buy: comprar


es en el caso que se nos termine la pasta dental y no podamos salir a la tienda a comprar otra. 

is in case we run out of toothpaste and we can't go to the store to get another one.

Captions 50-51, Otavalo Consejos de salud bucal

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6. To understand: comprender, entender


Yo no entiendo por qué quieres actuar en esa obra. 

I don't get why you want to act in that play.

Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 3

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7. To become: ponerse


Candelario se puso triste.

Candelario got sad.

Caption 44, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran Rescate

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Keep in mind that a number of Spanish verbs intrinsically contain the idea of "to get" in the sense of "becoming." For example, the verb entristecerse also means "to get sad." Additional examples include mejorar (to get better), empeorar (to get worse), molestarse (to get annoyed), alegrarse (to get happy), and many more. 


8. To catch: agarrar, coger, agarrar


Todos pillamos el COVID y tuvimos que quedarnos en casa durante casi dos semanas.

We all got COVID and had to stay home for almost two weeks. 


Regarding the use of the verb coger in this context, be aware that while it is extremely common in Spain, in many Latin American countries like Mexico, it has a vulgar connotation and should thus be exercised with caution. 


9. To reach a destination: llegar


El cuarto significado señala cuánto tiempo falta para llegar a un destino 

The fourth meaning indicates how much time is left to get to a destination

Captions 3-4, Aprendiendo con Silvia Significados, usos y expresiones con "quedar" - Part 2

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Translations for Additional Common Expressions With "To Get"


10: To get to: tener la oportunidad de, tener la ocasión de, poder hacer


Incluso tuve la oportunidad de jugar a nivel competitivo.

I even got to play at a competitive level.

Caption 28, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 2

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11: To get [someone] to [do something]: lograr que, conseguir que, convencer a 


y logré que para este caso nombraran a una juez que es amiga mía.

and, for this case, I got them to appoint a judge who's a friend of mine.

Caption 19, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11

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Remember that with all of these expressions, verbs that follow the conjunction que in Spanish should be conjugated in the subjunctive


12. To get [something done]: mandar + infinitive, hacer que + verb in subjunctive 


dónde la pueden mandar hacer o...

where you can get it made, or...

Caption 57, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1

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An alternative way to express this would be: dónde pueden hacer que la hagan.


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to realize the numerous ways in which the English verb "to get" is used and that you now know which Spanish verbs to choose for similar situations. Don't forget to write us with your questions and suggestions

Grammar Verbs

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