General Writing and Grammar Help/Get + gerund


Dear Ted:

I'm sorry to get back to you with the same subject but I still need your help.

My question is this:

When do you use "get" followed by a gerund?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.


Dear Paolo:


I just thought of another example, "get crackin'" or "get cracking."  Here is some interesting information about this phrase:

I can't help you with the origin of the phrase, but here's what the OED says. "b. Colloq. phr. to get cracking: to get started; to 'get a move on'. Cf. GET v. 32b. Also with noun or pronoun (or other object) interposed between get and cracking. 1937 PARTRIDGE Dict. Slang 324/1 Get cracking, to begin work.
: : :
: : : c. to get going: to begin; to start talking, acting, etc., vigorously; to get into full swing; to 'get a move on'. Also trans., to start; to render (someone) excited, talkative, etc. See also to get cracking s.v. CRACK v. 22b.
: : :
: : : 1897 O. W. HOLMES Pollock-Holmes Lett. I. 77 He is really fine when he gets going on the Church of England." SS

: : I imagine it's related to the expresions, "To crack on more sail" or "to crack on more speed", maybe even "the crack of dawn". However, I draw the line short of "Cracking good toast, Grommet"!

: Why is this not related to cracking a whip in order to get a horse to go faster?

I'm rather drawn to the whip theory. "Let's get cracking" is, I am entirely sure, of British origin. There is a very similar verbal usage, namely "to crack on" - "How's he doing with that presentation?" "Oh, he's really cracking on with it", meaning he's well into his stride and fast on the way to completing the task. I'm faintly suspicious that "to crack on" is of nautical origins, as per above.


I must be asleep.  I thought I sent you some examples.


My question is this:

When do you use "get" followed by a gerund?


We must get moving on this project, if we are to complete it on time.

I got thinking about my long, lost friend.

She got making cookies as her club's assignment.

*** Paolo, most instances of "get followed by a gerund" are idiomatic.  In most cases, the words "began" or "started" are the verbs used.  I started thinking about my friend.


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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