acquire/get

kansi

Senior Member
japanese
the fandamental meaning of acquire is to get. I know it.
And get is suitable in speaking but not in writing because it's a bit too informal.
That's all I've got about the difference between them.
Is there any other difference in connotation or dennotation between acquire and get?

Head of the Polish Ministry of Defence, Mariusz Błaszczak, announced, during the Polish Navy Day, that cooperation with the Swedish partner has been considered to be the most beneficial gap-filler solution in the area of submarines. Analytical phase has already come to an end and negotiation is going on now. The Minister announced that this is not a final solution and that Orka programme (assuming that three new generation submarines would be acquired) is to be continued.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    To acquire something is to obtain it by one means or another; to become the owner and/or the possessor/holder of it.

    Get is an informal word used in a variety of ways, its main definitions being to either become or obtain/acquire.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When you acquire something, the implication is that you put in a certain amount of effort in order to do so. And there are various means of acquiring something: find, buy, borrow, steal, rent, lease, earn…

    Conversely, if you get something, the implication could be said to tend more towards being given or awarded it (passively) — although this depends heavily on the context.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It isn't common in today's English to use "get" (meaning "acquire) in the passive. I wouldn't make the substitution in the quoted sentence.

    We need to get more submarines. (Informal)
    More submarines must be got. (Perhaps 150 years ago, but the submarine hadn't been invented.)

    Edit: I was referring to this phrase:
    assuming that three new generation submarines would be acquired
     
    Last edited:

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes. The phrase “one or another” can be applied to various different nouns. I’m sure you’ve come across it in one context or another, at one time or another? :D
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    Is there any other difference in connotation or dennotation between acquire and get?
    You could not replace "acquire" with "get" in the examples below:

    Zenzo hopes to acquire [ie learn] a new language this year.

    Bauer Media is to acquire
    [ie buy, take control of] the UKRD Group, owner of ten regional radio stations across England.

    The Zeus radar had to be an elaborate affair to acquire
    [ie locate and lock onto] targets entering the atmosphere at very high altitude and long range.
     

    kansi

    Senior Member
    japanese
    Yes. The phrase “one or another” can be applied to various different nouns. I’m sure you’ve come across it in one context or another, at one time or another? :D
    Zenzo hopes to acquire [ie learn] a new language this year.
    in this context, you would use acquire in daily conversations?I thought we don't use acquire much in speaking.
    how about saying "Zenzo hopes to get a new language skill this year."
    With acquire, which has implication that we need some effort to get something, used, acquire sounds better than get in the context.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I didn’t notice your addition of “skill”. But it makes no difference, and it’s not idiomatic anyway.

    I’ve already explained that get tends to imply being given, or at least acquiring/obtaining in an informal or incidental way (rather like fetch, meaning “go and get”). In fact, I’ve just realised that Lexico defines get as: come to have / receive.

    Can you pick up/get some milk while you’re out, please. :tick:
    Can you acquire/obtain/purchase some milk while you’re out, please. :cross::eek:

     

    kansi

    Senior Member
    japanese
    I didn’t notice your addition of “skill”. But it makes no difference, and it’s not idiomatic anyway.

    I’ve already explained that get tends to imply being given, or at least acquiring/obtaining in an informal or incidental way (rather like fetch, meaning “go and get”). In fact, I’ve just realised that Lexico defines get as: come to have / receive.

    Can you pick up/get some milk while you’re out, please. :tick:
    Can you acquire/obtain/purchase some milk while you’re out, please. :cross::eek:
    I didn't know that "Zenzo hopes to get a new language this year" is really not idiomatic. I would keep saying such a sentence if I didn't know it now.
    So in that context acquire isn't a formal word at all?I can just say it as a daily-used word?
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    Informally, I might use 'pick up'. Otherwise I'd use 'learn' or, possibly, 'acquire'. One word I would definitely not use is 'get'. If one of my learners used it, I would mark it as incorrect.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, in general English "learn a new language" is more idiomatic than "acquire a new language".

    But within relevant academic and professional teaching contexts, "language acquisition" is a very standard term, and is used in lots of book titles about the processes by which learners acquire the ability to communicate in a language (both mother tongue and second language).
     
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