How do you <get><go> to school?

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homotopy07

Senior Member
Japanese
"How do you get/go to school?" — "By bus."

Question: Which is more common, get or go?

I guess that go is the norm in English language education in Japan, but I heard that get was more common in British English.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    but I heard that get was more common in British English.
    It is. If the question means what mode of transport do you use to reach a certain place, we’d say “How do you get there?”. Also:

    How am I supposed to get to work if the trains are on strike!
    The traffic was so bad that it took me nearly two hours to get home yesterday.
     

    TheMahiMahi

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    This might be my opinion, but I think get is exceedingly common, and might be more common than go even in American English. "How do you get to school?" sounds much more natural to me, to the point that using go actually sounds a little bit weird.
     

    homotopy07

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It is. If the question means what mode of transport do you use to reach a certain place, we’d say “How do you get there?”.
    Thanks.:) I'm assuming my sentence is about commute to school.
    This might be my opinion, but I think get is exceedingly common, and might be more common than go even in American English. "How do you get to school?" sounds much more natural to me, to the point that using go actually sounds a little bit weird.
    Thanks.:)
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    English
    "How do you get/go to school?" — "By bus."

    Question: Which is more common, get or go?

    I guess that go is the norm in English language education in Japan, but I heard that get was more common in British English.

    How do you get to school? < It's far more common to use get in this question than go. In fact, go sounds -- at least a little -- strange for that question.

    Answer: I take the bus.

    And you? How do you get to school?

    I live close, so I walk.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    English
    Thanks.:) Is that because "go" does not necessarily imply arrival?
    You're welcome.

    No, I would not say that is the reason.

    The verb get more readily implies, or tells us, that the road to school is well-known and familiar, and therefore those that travel this road or path can be assured that they will arrive quickly because it is a familiar path or road.

    Generally, people usually live close to the school that they attend.

    That said, the following is key in considering why get is more common and usual than go in such a sentence.

    The verb go tells us there is motion or movement. This, however, is not necessarily the focus of the communication.

    The verb get simply tells us that we change from one location to another location. And this is quicker. Again, by contrast, go implies a process, something that takes longer, or, perhaps, something that is unknown. That would depend on context.

    The idea is to simply speak of how this is accomplished, not the specific movement on a road or a path required to place oneself at the school.

    There are no rules here. We can only analyze get and go and draw conclusions from there.

    Get means change condition, or it means change from X to Y.

    Get to school. Change from not being at the school to being at the school.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't know if there is a reason or if it's just habit but I also think "get" is far more common.

    I think get emphasizes the final outcome -- the fact that you have arrived at school -- while go emphasizes the journey. But the journey is not as relevant as the fact that you have made it there.

    There's also the fact that we seem to prefer more general words in many situations over more specific words.

    For instance, lots of learners ask questions about meals by saying things like:

    Which sounds more common?​
    I ate a large breakfast or I ate a big breakfast?​

    And the true answer for many people might be neither. They would say "I had a big breakfast."

    "Had" is a lot more general* than "ate" just like "get" is a lot more general* than "go".

    * the meaning is more dependent on the sentence context
     
    Last edited:

    homotopy07

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I don't know if there is a reason or if it's just habit but I also think "get" is far more common.

    I think get emphasizes the final outcome -- the fact that you have arrived at school -- while go emphasizes the journey. But the journey is not as relevant as the fact that you have made it there.

    There's also the fact that we seem to prefer more general words in many situations over more specific words.

    For instance, lots of learners ask questions about meals by saying things like:

    Which sounds more common?​
    I ate a large breakfast or I ate a big breakfast?​

    And the true answer for many people might be neither. They would say "I had a big breakfast."

    "Had" is a lot more general* than "ate" just like "get" is a lot more general* than "go".

    * the meaning is more dependent on the sentence context
    Thanks very much, kentix.:)
     

    Roymalika

    Senior Member
    Punjabi
    It is. If the question means what mode of transport do you use to reach a certain place, we’d say “How do you get there?”. Also:

    How am I supposed to get to work if the trains are on strike!
    The traffic was so bad that it took me nearly two hours to get home yesterday.
    In the OP situation, do "get" and "go" mean the same thing?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No. Go means go and get means get. You can see straight away that they work in different ways. “I get” is meaningless without an object or complement. “I go” is not.

    To get [to] somewhere doesn’t just mean go/travel there. It means to make one’s way there, which implies finding and using the best method of ensuring that you arrive at a certain destination (be it literal or figurative).
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In the OP situation, do "get" and "go" mean the same thing?
    It looked to me like the OP was asking whether they meant the same thing, or possibly whether they could be used interchangeably.

    In my opinion "get" is more versatile: if the question is "How to you go/get to school?" and the answer is "I walk there" then "go" sounds distinctly odd to me.
     

    Roymalika

    Senior Member
    Punjabi
    In my opinion "get" is more versatile: if the question is "How to you go/get to school?" and the answer is "I walk there" then "go" sounds distinctly odd to me.
    Can you tell me for which answer "How do you go to school?" can work?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Can you tell me for which answer "How do you go to school?" work?
    I'm not entirely sure that it does, but with a choice between "on the bus" and "my father takes me in the car" it would just about be usable.

    (I still think "get" sounds better ;))
     
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