Thursday, March 12, 2015

Getting Around & Getting Around To

When you're very busy and don't have a lot of extra time, GETTING AROUND TO buying your groceries can be challenging. On the other hand, some people find ways to GET AROUND going to the supermarket by shopping online and having their groceries delivered. 

GET AROUND and GET AROUND TO look very similar but these phrasal verbs actually have very different meanings that are kind of opposite from each other. One means to avoid doing something, while the other means to manage to do something.

GETTING AROUND means to stay away from a requirement or something annoying or unpleasant. We usually use this phrasal verb when we talk about avoiding a necessary activity that we don't like. If we say, "We can't GET AROUND taking that exam," or "There's no GETTING AROUND that exam," we mean that the exam is a requirement and that everyone has to take it. We can't avoid it if we want to get a certificate or receive a degree or apply to college.

Here are some example sentences using this phrasal verb. You might disagree with these statements. If you do, please share your opinions in the comments below. 

  1. There's no GETTING AROUND taking the TOEFL if you want to apply to a university in the U.S.
  2. You can't GET AROUND applying for a visa if you plan to study in the U.S. for more than six months.
  3. Some students try to GET AROUND taking final exams by asking their professors if they can write a research paper, instead.
  4. The only way to GET AROUND shoveling snow if you live up north is to pay someone to do it.
  5. We can't GET AROUND the fact that apartments in New York City are simply tiny and expensive.

On the other hand, GETTING AROUND TO means eventually finding the time to do something. We usually use this phrasal verb to talk about things that we need to do when we are busy. When we say, "They never GOT AROUND TO visiting the lake on their vacation," we are saying that they never found the time or they ran out of time.

Here are some example sentences with this phrasal verb.
  1. She usually doesn't GET AROUND TO doing the dishes until 11 p.m.
  2. He almost didn't GET AROUND TO doing homework last night.
  3. It took a whole hour, but the waiter finally GOT AROUND TO bringing us more napkins. It was a busy night for the restaurant.
  4. They almost never GET AROUND TO doing everything on their list when they're on vacation.
  5. His supervisor at the store wanted to make sure he GETS AROUND TO stocking the shelves before the end of his shift.

REMEMBER: Like most phrasal verbs, both GET AROUND and GET AROUND TO are followed by a gerund (the ING form of a verb). GET AROUND can also be followed by a noun.

Some New Yorkers know how to GET AROUND paying high sales taxes in New York City.
Some New Yorker know how to GET AROUND the high sales taxes in New York City.

A lot of New Yorkers never GET AROUND TO visiting small town America.

TO PRACTICE: Finish the following sentences.
1. Whenever I have a lot to do, I never GET AROUND TO ... [doing my homework/calling my family]
2. It would be nice to GET AROUND ... [doing the dishes every night/some of the requirements in my college application]

Share your sentences below, and keep practicing!

-- Joe Yu, ESL instructor

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