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Thread: Patterns with get

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    Patterns with get

    Here are two sentences from my textbook:

    The group were very quiet to start with but once the discussion turned to politics we got them all talking.
    We pointed out that the jacket had a mark on it and got them to reduce the price.


    Could you explain to me, why do they use get+object+ing in the first example and get+object+infinitive in the second? It seems to me that there is no difference. Both means persuade smb. to do smth....

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Katrin_
    Here are two sentences from my textbook:

    The group were very quiet to start with but once the discussion turned to politics we got them all talking.
    We pointed out that the jacket had a mark on it and got them to reduce the price.


    Could you explain to me, why do they use get+object+ing in the first example and get+object+infinitive in the second? It seems to me that there is no difference. Both means persuade smb. to do smth....
    I think the difference is that "talking" is a continuous process, while you can only "reduce the price" once. That's only my IMHO as I'm not a native English speaker.

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    Re: Patterns with get

    maybe...
    but what about
    I got the neighbours to look after the house while I was away
    It was also durable action... hm..

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Katrin_
    maybe...
    but what about
    I got the neighbours to look after the house while I was away
    It was also durable action... hm..
    I see...
    Honestly, I don't think that would make much difference if we re-phrase that as follows: "I got the neighbours looking after the house while I was away."

    But, of course, my opinion isn't decisive...

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Thank you anyway for thinking over my problem! )))

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Katrin_
    Here are two sentences from my textbook:

    The group were very quiet to start with but once the discussion turned to politics we got them all talking.
    We pointed out that the jacket had a mark on it and got them to reduce the price.


    Could you explain to me, why do they use get+object+ing in the first example and get+object+infinitive in the second? It seems to me that there is no difference. Both means persuade smb. to do smth....
    if you're looking for a grammatical explanation my idea is that in the first sentence "talking" is intransitive (doesn't take an object) and can thus be used in the gerund while "reduce" is transitive and therefore takes the infinitive. More importantly, I think this is an idiomatic thing, as I can't think of any other verb that could be used in the gerund in this instance (to get somone ...ing.)
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Crocodile
    Honestly, I don't think that would make much difference if we re-phrase that as follows: "I got the neighbours looking after the house while I was away."
    actually, you can't say that. It has to be "got the neighbors to look after the house."
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Katrin_
    Here are two sentences from my textbook:

    The group were very quiet to start with but once the discussion turned to politics we got them all talking.
    We pointed out that the jacket had a mark on it and got them to reduce the price.


    Could you explain to me, why do they use get+object+ing in the first example and get+object+infinitive in the second? It seems to me that there is no difference. Both means persuade smb. to do smth....

    I wouldn't try too hard to figure out any concrete grammatical rules from that source, given that the first sentence contains obvious grammatical errors.
    The group was very quiet at the start, but once the discussion turned to politics we had them all talking.
    The group (s) doesn't match the verb were (p), and to start with leaves a "dangling participle".

    It's obviously colloquial speech, rather than proper grammar. Still, "we had them talking" sounds better to my ear than "we got them talking."

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    Re: Patterns with get

    I'm surprised... It's not my own scentence. I took it from the Oxford textbook. Usually they have no such mistakes

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Katrin_
    I'm surprised... It's not my own scentence. I took it from the Oxford textbook. Usually they have no such mistakes
    Well, people do talk this way... but it is definitely not proper.

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Katrin_
    I'm surprised... It's not my own scentence. I took it from the Oxford textbook. Usually they have no such mistakes
    Randem is wrong. The grammar is fine.
    "Сейчас без языка нельзя... из тебя шапку сделают..."
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    Re: Patterns with get

    Here's a nice explanation:
    GROUP (PLURAL VS. SINGULAR)

    When the group is being considered as a whole, it can be treated as a single entity: “the group was ready to go on stage.” But when the individuality of its members is being emphasized, “group” is plural: “the group were in disagreement about where to go for dinner.”
    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/group.html

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by randem
    I wouldn't try too hard to figure out any concrete grammatical rules from that source, given that the first sentence contains obvious grammatical errors.....
    It's obviously colloquial speech, rather than proper grammar. Still, "we had them talking" sounds better to my ear than "we got them talking."
    With all my respect to the user named Randem, I cannot disagree more with what they say.

    Firstly, the colloquial speech does never exclude the propper grammar. The colloquial speech just uses different, from the formal one, vocabulary, but it can be both correct and incorrect grammar-wise.

    Secondly.... The expression "the group were very quiet" is absolutely correct... as well as we consider correct and proper such expressions as "The police want him, search for him." Or, "My entire family live here, nearby." The nouns "family", "police" are collective, so they are followed by an infinitive without the "to".

    Thirdly.... There is no need to replace such a cute, elegant expression to start with". I understand the feelings toward the "dangling article", but it is a part of an idiomatic expression and usually is perceived as such, not as a separate word.
    The same way, no need to replace "got". Why on earth??? People say this, and it is okay. The verb "to get" is very flexible, to start with...
    "Меньше малого довольно, чтобы сердце взволновать; больше самого большого надо, чтоб его разбить."
    Anne Brontё, "Agnes Grey"

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Watts
    Here's a nice explanation:
    GROUP (PLURAL VS. SINGULAR)

    When the group is being considered as a whole, it can be treated as a single entity: “the group was ready to go on stage.” But when the individuality of its members is being emphasized, “group” is plural: “the group were in disagreement about where to go for dinner.”
    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/group.html

    Exactly! This is what I was trying to say just now! Thank you!
    "Меньше малого довольно, чтобы сердце взволновать; больше самого большого надо, чтоб его разбить."
    Anne Brontё, "Agnes Grey"

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Watts
    Here's a nice explanation:
    GROUP (PLURAL VS. SINGULAR)

    When the group is being considered as a whole, it can be treated as a single entity: “the group was ready to go on stage.” But when the individuality of its members is being emphasized, “group” is plural: “the group were in disagreement about where to go for dinner.”
    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/group.html

    Exactly! This is what I was trying to say just now! Thank you!
    Collective nouns are a bit of a bugaboo in the USA. Unfortunately, some well-meaning grammar teachers, not to mention a number of American style guides, have decided that collective nouns (except for a few unexplained exceptions like "police") are always to be conjugated as singular. Rubbish!

    In my opinion, the best judge of whether a collective noun is singular or plural is the speaker himself. Just use pronouns as your guide. If you would replace the noun with 'it', then it's singular. If you would replace the noun with 'they', then it's plural. Simple!
    "Сейчас без языка нельзя... из тебя шапку сделают..."
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    Re: Patterns with get

    The group were very quiet to start with but once the discussion turned to politics we got them all talking.
    The use of "were" here doesn't work in AE, but the Brits probably say it.

    More importantly, I think this is an idiomatic thing, as I can't think of any other verb that could be used in the gerund in this instance (to get somone ...ing.)
    Hm. I don't think that quite catches the issue. I can think of some other -ing forms that work:

    The group was very quiet to start with but loosened up once we got them all drinking.
    The first day of class is tough on any teacher, but once you get the students laughing, they will do anything for you.
    Depression may seem like a tough issue, but once you get people exercising regularly, they start to feel better.

    For all three of those, the “to” version works for me as well:

    The group was very quiet to start with but loosened up once we got them all to drink.
    The first day of class is tough on any teacher, but once you get the students to laugh, they will do anything for you.
    Depression may seem like a tough issue, but once you get people to exercise regularly, they start to feel better.

    The "drinking" version sounds better to me than the “to drink” version when I start thinking about it, but when I say it quickly, it sounds fine.

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    Re: Patterns with get

    Quote Originally Posted by doninphxaz
    Hm. I don't think that quite catches the issue. I can think of some other -ing forms that work:

    The group was very quiet to start with but loosened up once we got them all drinking.
    The first day of class is tough on any teacher, but once you get the students laughing, they will do anything for you.
    Depression may seem like a tough issue, but once you get people exercising regularly, they start to feel better.

    For all three of those, the “to” version works for me as well:

    The group was very quiet to start with but loosened up once we got them all to drink.
    The first day of class is tough on any teacher, but once you get the students to laugh, they will do anything for you.
    Depression may seem like a tough issue, but once you get people to exercise regularly, they start to feel better.

    The "drinking" version sounds better to me than the “to drink” version when I start thinking about it, but when I say it quickly, it sounds fine.
    I think both of the first two examples are slightly different, depending on which way you say it. I'm not sure about the third one though. I think this is pretty much the same either way.

    Both the drinking and the laughing examples suggest a continuous activity of indefinite duration. If you get them drinking, this probably means they are having a number of drinks, if you get them to drink this could also imply several drinks but (in my opinion at least) could just as easily mean a single sip. In the context of using alcohol to get people to loosen up, emphasising the continuous nature fits better.

    Similarly, if you get people to laugh, this could also be continuous but (again in my opinion), even more than the drinking example, it strongly implies a singular occurrence or short duration. To get someone to laugh once, then perhaps revert to a state of tension (for example) would definitely not be the same thing.

    It is a pretty subtle difference and you could certainly take both ways to mean the same thing, but they are most definitely not identical.

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