Don’t let phrasal verbs get you down, as Tim Bowen is here to help with his latest Your English round-up.
‘Public sector workers in London are finding it increasingly difficult to get by on their salaries due to the rising cost of housing in the capital.’ Apart from its association with having enough money to survive, get by can also be used in the sense of having enough knowledge to achieve something, as in ‘I’ve forgotten most of the French I learnt at school but I can still get by when I’m in France’.
If something gets you down, it makes you feel depressed, as in ‘This rainy weather really gets me down’, but if you get down to something, you start doing it seriously or with a lot of effort, as in ‘Right, let’s get down to business’.
The phrasal verb get in is mainly used in the sense of to arrive or enter a place, but it can also be used in the sense of delivering or sending something to a person or place, especially by a particular time, as in ‘I have to get this assignment in by the end of the week’.
With a similar meaning to fit in, get in can mean to manage to fit something such as an activity or a comment into a small amount of time, as in ‘I usually try to get in an hour or two playing with the kids after work’ or ‘He just talked and talked and I couldn’t get a word in edgeways’. It can also be used in the context of buying and bringing something for a group of people, usually drinks in a bar, as in ‘You paid last time. It’s my turn to get the drinks in’.