August 5th, 2007
I was asked how to use “get” in the sense of “get nervous” or “get drunk”. Thanks for your question IOIO. You said in your question that Chinese people say, “when I nervous” or “when I drunk”. That is incorrect. You can say “I am nervous right now”, or “I get nervous when I see snakes”, but you can’t say “I nervous”.
Here, “get” means “become”. We almost never say “become” in this way but that’s what it means. It is used with states or feelings that change. We can use it with “nervous”, “drunk”, “tired”, or “excited” because these are states that change. We aren’t always drunk for example, but we “get drunk” when certain things happen. ie. drink alcohol. We aren’t always tired but we “get tired” when we don’t sleep enough.
You could say, “I get really drunk if I drink too quickly”. Another is, “My friend gets nervous around beautiful women”.
You use “got” for the past tense. “I got really tired the last time I went running”. Or, “Sarah got really excited when she met that famous movie star”.
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