Get back with for get back to

Nourished Gourmet

Senior Member
French
Hi everyone -- Just curious - as long as I just recently received an email from some native speaker located in Louisiana containing an expression which, sadly enough, I can't seem to find a valid explanation to anywhere online - can the phrase "to get back with" be used alternately to "to get back to' in the sense "report back to" in whatever variety and level of English?

Here's the excerpt of the email I"m referring to: "...As for the sugar in the chipotle I will have to get back with you on that..."

Actually, I already know of "get back with" in the sense "to become again sexually or romantically involved with" as in "She begged to get back with him as she couldn't bear another man touching her", but wish you could tell if such verbal idiom can also be used quite safely in the "report back to" sense, or should stick in any case to its original meaning. Thank you over again for any help you can give in this thread.
 
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  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Both "get back to you" and "get back with you" are commonly used. The usage is similar to "talk to you" and "talk with you."

    Unless your correspondent is someone you previously were romantically involved with, there is no risk they will interpret "I'll get back with you" inappropriately.
     

    Nourished Gourmet

    Senior Member
    French
    Hi Florienta52, Thank you for helping out with this. Is this "report back to" sense of "get back with" any new in AE? I'm asking because - aside from various other examples online - I can't seem to find any such entry in whatever AE dictionary throughout the Net. Please advise. Thank you.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I've never heard get back with in the OP sense. But it seems to be common in AE. I'd say get back to you (with an answer).
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I can't seem to find any such entry in whatever AE dictionary throughout the Net. Please advise.
    Why would you expect to? Why do you expect a dictionary to have such a specific phrase as get back with you? Which word entry do you plan to search under? You have been advised, it's a form of words used in American English and not in British English. It's much less common than get back to you, but it is used and has been since about 1930.
     

    Salvage

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In your example, with either get back to you or get back with you, it is implicit that the speaker will answer the question later. The speaker is not confident in his answer but is asking for time to research or think about it and will then give a more assured answer.

    Regarding get back to you versus get back with you, the phrases are conversational and both are used. If I had to discriminate, I would say that "with you" implies slightly more commitment.

    I agree with Florentia52. In the given context there is no romantic overtone.
     

    Nourished Gourmet

    Senior Member
    French
    Hello Rhitagawr, Thank you for helping out. I'm just wondering -- if such sense of "get back with" is commonly used in AE alternately to "get back to," how come I can't seem to find it in any authoritative AE dictionary online? Is such usage long established in AE -- or it actually is pretty new, and so this would explain why it isn't yet appearing in any current dictionaries.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Hello Rhitagawr, Thank you for helping out. I'm just wondering -- if such sense of "get back with" is commonly used in AE alternately to "get back to," how come I can't seem to find it in any authoritative AE dictionary online? Is such usage long established in AE -- or is it actually pretty new, and so this would explain why it isn't yet appearing in any current dictionaries.
    You obviously have not consulted the right dictionaries!! You are aware, of course, that dictionaries are well behind actual usage and cannot, as andygc already pointed out :eek:, include very possible phrase in the English language!

    Your post seems to focus on "how common is phrase X" when you find one that you can't readily find in your dictionaries. One good source that should assuage your appetite to find verification of the existence of such phrases, even if you choose not to pay much attention to the members who are "helping out", is the Google NGRAM viewer. It seems to be well ahead of whatever dictionaries you feel are "authoritative". The NGRAM viewer will analyse the instances of your phrases in the printed English database they have accumulated, so you can answer for yourself how common they are, even if the database is not a dictionary in the sense of providing meanings. There you will find, for example, that the popularity of "I'll get back with you" started to rise only about 20 years after "I'll get back to you" started being used a lot and that it is more frequent in what they categorize as American English. You will probaly make better use of your (and our:D) time if you consult there before posting here. I'm sure you will have fun learning about when other phrases/idioms etc you find start showing up in print. The print database is less selective than the National Corpora where you can also search. Of course, that record will be correspondingly behind the conversational usage record:D so for that you will have to rely on the input of members who respond to your posts.

    Or are your posts mainly complaining indirectly about the dictionaries being slow?
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I tend of think of "get back to" as "respond to (via email, voicemail, letter, phone)" while "get back with" means that we will have a conversation about it. I don't know if I'm in the minority with that opinion. :)
     

    Nourished Gourmet

    Senior Member
    French
    To push this topic a bit further on, does "to get back with someone with sonething" work just as well as to saying "to get back to someone with something" - in AE at least?

    Also, what if I leave out "back," does "to get with someone" in the sense of "to reach someone" work in the same way, and hence can be used quite safely as a perfect alternative to "to get to someone"?

    Here are some examples with both "to get back with someone with something" and "to get with someone:"

    http://www.cloudaccess.net/support-policy/12-support-training/support/456-paid-hosting-support-policy.html
    Our team will get back with you with possible solutions...

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070412092628AAm6jq1
    I would like to get with you with some questions...
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I wouldn't tend to use "back with you with X". I would probably say or write "get back with you regarding X" or "get back with you about X" or "get back with you and go over X". The "with/with" sounds a little odd to me. The same is true for "get with you with", in my book.

    "Get with someone", to me, means to meet with them, either in person or over the phone. It is a two-way communication. So, to me, it isn't the same as to reach someone. I can say that I reached someone if I left a message and they left a message in response.

    To "get to someone" has a different meaning from what we have been discussing.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Both of those examples sound really awkward to me. Get back with you is fairly common in AmE, as others have pointed out, but get back to you is even more common, and it would sound much better here since it would allow the writer/speaker to avoid using with twice in one sentence.

    So to answer your question, yes, get back with can work, but there are many times (including these two examples) when get back to works much better.

    And I agree with James that get back with usually (though not always) implies an actual meeting, probably face to face.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I'm surprised by the other AE respondents here! I would also see "I'll get back with you on that" as an error - a combination of "get back to you" and "check back with you."

    To me, "get back with you" can only mean "reconcile romantically with you, start dating you again."

    But clearly, usage is changing. Interesting...
     

    Nourished Gourmet

    Senior Member
    French
    Thanks for helping me with this, James M. If I got you right on this. "Get with someone" is not the same as saying "get to someone," and so "I would like to get with you with some questions" - as in the example - conveys to some extent a different idea than "I would like to get to you with some questions" does.
     
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    Nourished Gourmet

    Senior Member
    French
    James, you don't "get back to (or with someone) regarding information" in the sense of providing him or her some information, hence "get back with or to someone with some information" does make sense here.
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    None of your examples used "information". :)

    Using your examples, I would easily say "Our team will get back with you regarding possible solutions..." or "I would like to get with you regarding some questions... "

    I still would try to avoid "with/with". Using your latest example, I would say "I will get back with you and go over information regarding your claim". Yes, "with/with" is possible here but it's not the smoothest way to phrase it, in my opinion.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Thanks for helping me with this, James M. If I got you right on this. "Get with someone" is not the same as saying "get someone to," and so "I would like to get with you with some questions" - as in the example - conveys to some extent a different idea than "I would like to get to you with some questions" does.
    "Get to someone" and "Get someone to" are two different phrases, neither of which belong in this thread. If you'd like to talk about those phrases I recommend that you research old threads or start a new thread with each of these phrases in the title.

    "I would like to get to you" does not work as a substitute for "get back to you" or "get with you". "Get to you" means something very different from "get back to you".
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I'm surprised by the other AE respondents here! I would also see "I'll get back with you on that" as an error - a combination of "get back to you" and "check back with you."

    To me, "get back with you" can only mean "reconcile romantically with you, start dating you again."

    But clearly, usage is changing. Interesting...
    It doesn't seem new to me. "I'll get back with you after lunch and we'll go over the figures again. Maybe we missed something the first time around." That sounds completely natural to me. It means that the two (or more) people will re-convene their meeting after lunch or have a follow-up meeting from a previous meeting after lunch. In this context "get back to you" would have a completely different meaning.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I'm surprised by the other AE respondents here! I would also see "I'll get back with you on that" as an error - a combination of "get back to you" and "check back with you."

    To me, "get back with you" can only mean "reconcile romantically with you, start dating you again."

    But clearly, usage is changing. Interesting...
    The Ngram I linked to (post#10) demonstrates a recent rise in its use. From a quick glimpse of the citations, it also seemed to be "younger" people using it. That's why you found it "wrong", others found it less preferable and why it is not in the dictionary. English is a living language:D For example, in Indian English, it is now very common to use revert "I'll revert to you on that" in place of "I'll get back to you on that". So we see, in some forms of English, the appearance of "with" in the expression in the OP's post. Many such things never become 100% homogeneously integrated into all versions of English, and it's anyone's guess when they might ever get into any given dictionary:D
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    The Ngram I linked to (post#10) demonstrates a recent rise in its use. From a quick glimpse of the citations, it also seemed to be "younger" people using it. That's why you found it "wrong", others found it less preferable and why it is not in the dictionary.
    To be clear, I have no problem with language changing and I find discovering new phrases rather stimulating.

    I'm not sure whether I'm "not young," exactly... In fact, I thought that it was probably due to my relative youth (28) that I so narrowly associated "get back with [someone]" with a romantic context! (Similarly, "get with [someone]" only means "have sex with [someone]" to me.) I suspect that it has more to do with my position outside of the business world.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    "Get to someone" is very different from "Get back to someone" or "Get with someone". I cannot say, for example, "I'll get to you with those figures" but I can say "I'll get those figures to you." "I'll get to you" means "I will annoy/harm/rattle/charm you", depending on context. It is a very different expression. That's all I'm trying to point out.

    [edit] (Well, I suppose I could say "I'll get to you with those figures" if I meant "I'll annoy you/drive you crazy with those figures". :) However, it falls into a completely different group of phrases from the ones we are discussing here. )
     
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    Nourished Gourmet

    Senior Member
    French
    So how about "get with someone with something" as in the example I provided in post #13? Is it also grammatically incorrect in the sense "report back to someone with something," and as such - in the same way as "get something to someone" - should be rephrased to "get something with someone?"
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    So how about "get with someone with something" as in the example I provided in post #13?
    JustKate did a great job of answering the first part.

    Is it also grammatically incorrect in the sense "report back to someone with something," and as such - in the same way as "get something to someone" - should be replaced rephrased to "get something with someone?"
    This is very muddled. You have so many phrases here that I'm not sure what you are asking. Can you please re-phrase this in a different way? I believe there are some incorrect underlying assumptions. "Get with Mark with answers to his questions" does not mean "report back to Mark". "Get with someone" and "Get back with someone" are two different phrases with two different connotations. "Get with someone" does not imply any previous meeting or conversation. You seem to be flipping back and forth between the two as if they mean the same thing.
     
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    Nourished Gourmet

    Senior Member
    French
    I wish you would let me know if - in the same pattern as you rephrased "to get to someone with something" to "to get something to someone" - to get with someone with something" should hence be rephrased to "to get something with someone. Is it any clearer to you?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes. And the answer is "no".

    "I'll get with you about this" = I will meet with you about this
    "I'll get back with you about this" = I will meet with you again about this
    "I'll get to you about this" :cross: (doesn't really make sense in English)
    "I'll get back to you about this" = I will respond in some manner about this
    "I'll get this to you" = I will deliver this to you (or) I will have it delivered to you
     

    Nourished Gourmet

    Senior Member
    French
    In your examples, you just omitted "I'll get back to you with" and the more recent alternate "I"ll get back with you with" as in "I"ll get back to/with you with a solution to your financial issues" = "I'll report back to you with a solution to your financial issues."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes, deliberately. As you'll see above, I said that I would avoid the "with you with" whenever possible. :) I used "about this" to make the endings the same and draw attention to the beginning of each phrase. It was not meant to be a summary of thread to date.
     
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