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Learn to Write English Clearly and Correctly Set 1 - Lesson 1 ( Go to the Answer Key )


Lesson 1:  Words that are used too much: DO and GET

DO sounds like DOO or DU. 

Dictionary definitions of DO include: 1. to perform, 2. to bring about, 3. to pay (as honor), 4. to finish,  5. to prepare,   6. to cook,  7. to act or behave,  8. to fare in health,  9. to suffice, 10. to avail, and many more.

GET rhymes with BET and SET.   There is no such word as GIT in English.

Dictionary definitions of GET include: 1. to acquire or to procure 2. to prepare , 3. to fetch, 4. to buy, 5. to receive, 6. to earn, 7. to arrive at by calculation, 8. to hit, 9. to grasp the meaning of, 10. to catch, and many more.


Principle forms of DO and GET:

Present Tense Past Tense Present Perfect Future Tense
I do,
you do,
we do,
they do,
he does,
she does,
it does
 I did,
you did,
he did, 
it did,
we did,
they did
I have done,
you have done, 
he has done,
she has done
we have done,
they have done
I will do,
you will do,
he will do,
she will do
we will do,
they will do
I get,
you get,
we get,
they get,
he gets,
she gets
it gets
I got,
you got,
he got,
she got,
it got,
we got,
they got
I have gotten,
you have gotten,
he has gotten,
she has gotten,
we have gotten,
they have gotten
(got can be used as well)
I will get,
you will get,
he will get,
we will get,
they will get

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Present Progressive Past Progressive Past Perfect With Auxiliary Verb
I am doing,
you are doing,
we are doing,
he is doing,
they are doing
I was doing,
you were doing,
they were doing,
he was doing,
we were doing
I had done,
we had done,
they had done,
you had done,
he had done.
I can do,
he can do,
you can do,
they can do,
we can do
I am getting,
you are getting,
he is getting,
she is getting,
we are getting,
they are getting
I was getting,
you were getting,
he was getting,
we were getting,
they were getting 
I had gotten,
you had gotten,
we had gotten,
she had gotten,
they had gotten
(got is also used )
I can get,
you can get,
he can get,
we can get,
they can get

DO and GET are  very useful words in English, but sometimes they are used too often.  Here are some sentences  illustrating the different definitions of DO and GET.  

  • 1. I am going to do a Brahms' lullaby in the concert tomorrow. (PERFORM)
  • 2. The doctor said it will do no harm to stay up late. (BRING ABOUT)
  • 3. Please do them the courtesy of responding to the invitation. (PAY THE HONOR OF)
  • 4. These tasks must be done before you leave. (FINISHED)
  • 5. Let me do the books tonight while you rest. (PREPARE)
  • 6. It is my turn to do supper. (COOK)
  • 7. Do the best you can at school today.  (ACT or BEHAVE)
  • 8. How are you doing today, Mrs. Jones? (FARE IN HEALTH)
  • 9. "No more coffee. That does it for me," John told the waitress. (SUFFICE)
  • 10. Those old boards will do for the tree fort walls.. (BE ADEQUATE)
  • 11. Did you get the new book I told you about? (ACQUIRE, ACCEPT)
  • 12. Why don't you get supper while I iron the shirts. (PREPARE)
  • 13. Mary, will you please get the salt for me? (FETCH)
  • 14. John stopped at the store and got some milk. (BOUGHT)
  • 15. Mom, did we get mail yesterday? (RECEIVE)
  • 16. With this overtime, I will get a good check next week. (EARN)
  • 17. How many of you got the right answer? (ARRIVED AT BY CALCULATION)
  • 18. The wild pitch got him right on the helmet. HIT)
  • 19. I just don't get the point of all this exercise. (GRASP THE MEANING OF)
  • 20. You can get the bus on the corner if you hurry. (CATCH) 

Exercise A: Replace the underlined words with a form of DO.  Write the answer on the line at the end of the sentence.  Try to figure out which definition is illustrated by each sentence.

1. Mary said she had to set her hair before the dance. __________________________

2. Jim was tired after working a double shift in the factory. _________________________

3. The gymnast performed a complicated flip in her dismount from the high bar. __________________

4. That second piece of pie was enough to satisfy me. ________________________

5. Will space exploration bring about good or evil? ________________________

6. The citizens paid homage to the aging former president. _________________________

7. The veterinarian asked the couple how their new puppy was feeling. _____________________

8. Mr. Harris loved to barbecue chicken on the grill. _______________________

9. Bob's mother said he couldn't go out until he finished his homework, ________________________

10. I used to prepare my own taxes. __________________________

Exercise B: Replace the underlined word with a form of the verb GET.  Write the answer on the line at the end of the sentence.

1. In order to arrive at work on time, I have to catch the 6:30 train. ___________________________

2. On the way home from work, Jim stopped at the store and bought a gallon of milk. _____________________

3. I don't know why we are not receiving as much mail as we used to. ______________________

4. I have earned a lot of money by selling things on E-bay.  ____________________

5. Ten students figured out the correct answer. _____________________

6. You kids work on your homework while I start preparing supper. ______________________

7. Did you acquire the camping equipment I told you about? ______________________

8. I don't understand these tax rules. ____________________

9. The whirling Frisbee smacked Tom right on his nose. ____________________

10. Mary, will you grab that box off the top shelf for me?  _____________________

The verb DO  is over-used by many English-speaking people.  Here are some sentences that would be more accurate or more interesting if a different verb  were used.

1. The cowboy who had been shot said to his partner, "I'm done for.  Go on without me."

2. Harold's wife complained, "Are you still doing those taxes?"

3. Are the steaks done yet?

4. My old car can only do 45 uphill.

5. After completing the five-mile run, Jack said, "That will do it for me."

6. Alicia does her nails every other day.

7. Harry did a crossword puzzle before work every day.

8. Mark's band does mostly classic rock songs.

9. Jane does her laundry at night when the laundromat is almost empty.

10. My friend thought I did her wrong when I forgot to invite her to my party.

Exercise C: Rewrite each of the sentences above using a verb other than DO in its various forms.  Be careful to keep the same meaning as the original sentence.  You may have to change other words as well.


1. ___________________________________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________________________________

3. ___________________________________________________________________

4. ___________________________________________________________________

5. ___________________________________________________________________

6. ___________________________________________________________________

7. ___________________________________________________________________

8. ____________________________________________________________________

9. ____________________________________________________________________

10. ____________________________________________________________________


The verb GET is also used too often.  Here are some sentences that would be better, or more interesting, if a verb other than GET were used.

11. Mrs. Jones gets the flu every winter.

12. John gets it on his forehead every time he enters the shed without ducking.

13. I'm getting angry because of all the telephone calls from telemarketers.

14. Jack got the answer before anybody else.

15. You can get the bus down at the corner.

16. Hey Tom, get your jacket and follow me to the garage.

17. Mrs. Smith got the last bag of oranges at the supermarket.

18. Dad was getting lunch while we set the table.

19. Did you get any good presents for your birthday?

20. Have you gotten the news about the snow storm?

Exercise D: Rewrite each of the sentences above using a verb other than GET in its various forms.  Be careful to keep the same meaning as the original sentences.  You may have to change other words, as well.


1. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________


8. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Exercise E: Cross out the incorrect form of DO or GET in the following sentences.

1. John hopes that he (has done) (will do) better on the next test.

2. The kangaroo (is doing) (do) amusing tricks in the show.

3. Serena (does) (did) all her chores last night.

4. The girl on the bicycle (has done) (have done) well in the contest

5. It (do) (does) me good to watch my children play happily.

6. Sixty more bricks (will do) (will doing) to complete the wall. 

7. The students (will get) (gets) new desks when school opens in the Fall.

8. Johnny (have got) (has gotten) every answer but the last one on the test.

9. Mary, will you please (getting) (get) me a quart of milk when you go to the store?

10. We (have gotten) (are getting) a new puppy tomorrow.

11. Every morning, we (got) (get) the seven o'clock bus for school.

12. Mother (gets) (get) supper early during the week.

Examination: Fill the blanks in the following sentences with a form of the verb DO or GET.

1. We ended the camping trip because the rain, the mud and the insects finally _______ it for us.

2. The doctor asked the sobbing little boy how he was __________.

3. You must at least ___________your mother-in-law the courtesy of being polite.

4. Greta ___________a turkey when the oven blew up.

5. After Anna had been crying and stamping her feet for three minutes, her father told her firmly, "That ___________ it, young lady!  Sit down now!"

6. The chattering squirrel in the tree _____________the same thing today as it had done yesterday.

7. William was glad he _____________his homework before going to the dance.

8. Girls usually ________________better than boys in spelling bees.

9. The college student ______________much research before beginning the term paper.

10, This lesson is finally _______________.

11. I couldn't ______________ the answers to the Jumble puzzle in today's paper.

12. Vince stopped at the corner store and _____________ a pack of cupcakes for his lunch.

13. The secretary asked me to _____________ a ream of paper from the top shelf for her.

14. Henry missed the ball several times before he finally _________________ it.

15. What time do you have to _______________ the train tomorrow?

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