Language Tip 33 (2014-15)

Get vs. acquire; get vs. become

“Get” and “acquire” are not interchangeable, because “acquire” means specifically to gain possession of and is normally not used with things you cannot actually have and hold, such as attention.

CORRECT: “I finally got her attention.”
INCORRECT: “I finally acquired her attention.”

Similarly, “get” and “become” are not always interchangeable. The short version: “get” is less formal than “become.”
One of us was taught a long time ago never to use “get” in an essay; the other one pretty much figured it out by themselves.

Consider the mixed-register tone of this:
“Hamlet, never a happy man, gets increasingly world-weary and melancholic as the play progresses.”

Jason Blake and Monika Kavalir

All tips to date…
http://www2.arnes.si/~bjason/tips%20-%202014%202015.pdf

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