I'll get you back.

Lisa Barre

New Member
French
Dear friends on WR, I was trying to figure out the expression "I'll get you back" and came across a 2021 post on WR that sort of answered half of my question. As a non-native speaker, "I'll get you back" is easily understood in the pattern of "I'll get the car back", "I'll get the money back" or "I'll get my laptop back". The expression comes off as really confusing to me. Can I say the expression is polysemous and can mean the following if the context permits?

a. (between a couple, on a break) = I'll win you back again?
b. (between 2 people in a fight) = I'll get back at you?
c. (between 2 friends) = I'll get back to you (on something)?

Thank you!
 
  • CaptainZero

    Senior Member
    English
    "I'll get you back" is easily understood in the pattern of "I'll get the car back", "I'll get the money back" or "I'll get my laptop back".
    That would be "I'll get it back": I'll take possession of it again.


    a. (between a couple, on a break) = I'll win you back again?
    Do you mean a couple who have separated? "On a break" means they're having their lunch break at work, or something similar. If you mean separated, then yes, one partner might say to the other "I'll get you back", meaning "I'll get back together with you".

    b. (between 2 people in a fight) = I'll get back at you?
    No.

    c. (between 2 friends) = I'll get back to you (on something)?
    No.

    "I'll get you (him/her) back" most commonly means I'll get revenge for your misdeed.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    "I'll get you (him/her) back" most commonly means I'll get revenge for your misdeed.
    That is the meaning in the US, if the entire sentence is I'll get you back. It means you have done something bad to me, and I'll get revenge by doing something bad to you. It could be a small bad thing (one child hitting another child) or a big thing.

    As a non-native speaker, "I'll get you back" is easily understood in the pattern of "I'll get the car back", "I'll get the money back" or "I'll get my laptop back".
    "You" is not "the car" or "the money" or "the laptop". So this isn't the meaning.

    If you mean separated, then yes, one partner might say to the other "I'll get you back", meaning "I'll get back together with you".
    That is another possibility. But there's no risk of confusion -- it's a specific situation.
     

    Lisa Barre

    New Member
    French
    That would be "I'll get it back": I'll take possession of it again.



    Do you mean a couple who have separated? "On a break" means they're having their lunch break at work, or something similar. If you mean separated, then yes, one partner might say to the other "I'll get you back", meaning "I'll get back together with you".


    No.


    No.

    "I'll get you (him/her) back" most commonly means I'll get revenge for your misdeed.
    Dear, thank you so much for your detailed reply! I've learned something from you! Just a little note, in the States when a couple are on a break, it can mean they're currently separated. Thanks again!
     

    Lisa Barre

    New Member
    French
    That is the meaning in the US, if the entire sentence is I'll get you back. It means you have done something bad to me, and I'll get revenge by doing something bad to you. It could be a small bad thing (one child hitting another child) or a big thing.


    "You" is not "the car" or "the money" or "the laptop". So this isn't the meaning.


    That is another possibility. But there's no risk of confusion -- it's a specific situation.
    Thank you!
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Top