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Welcome to our first lesson in getting a bigger English vocabulary. In this lesson we are going to take a simple, often used word and increase your English vocabulary by learning synonyms for that word. I will give you definitions and example sentences. Your goal is to use the word every day this week (or whichever week you start these lessons).
How to Practice
There are a few ways you can practice your new words. First and best is to use them in a conversation. If you can’t do that then find a partner who is also learning English and practice with them. If that’s not an option for you, write a sentence every day. If you post to them to the comment section, I’ll check as many as I can. Finally you can use our friend Google, and google the word to see how other people use it in a sentence.
Let’s start growing your English vocabulary!
This week’s word is get
Our Synonyms will be gain, obtain, and acquire
Get means that someone has something. It is theirs, it belongs to them. Get means that something changes hands. If I get something from you, then it’s mine now. It is no longer yours. I can get something because you gave it to me, or I can get something from across the room. It just means that I have taken possession of something. Usually when someone gets something, the thing they are getting is an object, but it doesn’t have to be. You can also get knowledge or a concept. For example if your teacher explains something to the class, and you understand you may say, “oh, I get it”. You can say that because now you have the knowledge.
- Please get the milk from the refrigerator.
- I would like to get in better shape.
Alright! Now that you know our simple word, let’s learn some synonyms.
Gain has two meanings. It can simply mean to get or have something. If you have gained something then it is now yours. You own it. When gain is used in this way, not only do you now have something, but it is implied that what you have gained now means you have more. In this case having more doesn’t necessarily mean you have more of the same thing. If I say I gained two eggs. It doesn’t mean that I had any eggs before. But now I have more food than I did before. In other words when something is gained it refers to addition. While this word is usually used in a positive way, it can also be used with a negative connotation. For example, you could say “all I gained was misery”.
Gain can also be used to say that someone has received more of something they already have. Now if I gain two eggs, I’m adding them to my stash of eggs that I already had. For example, I gained a new friend today. Either way you slice it, gaining is all about getting more.
- It looks like you’ve gained a few pounds.
- I’m not going to do that unless I have something to gain.
Obtain just like gain means to get something. When something is obtained it now belongs to you. Unlike gain, when something is obtained it doesn’t refer to something being added. When someone obtains something, they just have it. When someone obtains something it completely belongs to them.
- After this class I will finally obtain my master’s degree.
- What knowledge have you obtained after doing this job for three years?
Acquire means to obtain or get something. Acquire is often used when something is obtained by buying it or if the thing that is obtained is valuable. Acquire speaks to value. It could be of monetary value, it could be valuable for another reason….like love. Because of this acquire tends to be a positive word, because we all like to get something that’s valuable.
- The small business has been acquired by a much larger company.
- I have acquired a new home.
So to sum it up get means something is now in your possession (think of it as you have it in your hands, or in the case of knowledge in your mind).
Obtain, can often be used interchangeably with get. (I want to get more knowledge. I want to obtain more knowledge). However I can request that someone walks across the room and gets me some sugar. While I can ask you to walk across the room and obtain some sugar, I wouldn’t. That’s not how obtain is used. If I have to physically go get something and bring it to someone else, I’m probably going to use the word get.
Gain means that I’m adding something. I might be adding more of what I already have ( I have gained a new friend), or it can just be speaking to me having more. (I have a lot to gain from working with you).
Acquire means you got something valuable. It might be worth money or it might just bring you joy, either way it is of value.
That’s it, now go start practicing these words.
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