Can you get me my drink please? Did you get your paycheck today? Are you going to get your degree soon?
Do these questions make you cringe at all? Does it send the hair on your neck at attention? It is not that “get” is a bad word. It is not even an “improper” word, technically. It is, however, one of those verbs that make writers look a little lazy. Let us be honest; all of the above sentences “get” the meaning across with ease and are grammatically sound. The truth about “get” is that it is best used in compound verbs and idioms, e.g. get up, get back, get even, get out of here; you get the picture. However, in professional or academic settings, it is best to use more of a descriptive or action verb in your primary verb phrase. Here is how the above sentences can sound without “get”.
Can you hand (or pass) me my drink please? Did you receive (or pick up) your paycheck today? Are you going to complete (or earn) your degree soon?
Now, it took a tad more energy to choose those alternative verbs, and there are several more options from which to choose; however, it is a good idea to begin the practice of avoiding the use of “get” as your main verb phrase. If you are not careful, you can easily overuse it and end up sounding a bit dull. Spruce your writing up and take this challenge; try not to use “get” as a main verb unless you have no other option to get the point across. Just kidding, only use “get” when you have no other option to express your point. See how easy that was? Who is up for the challenge?