Friday, December 09, 2005

Get To Know

Geoffrey Pullum says that the sentence:

* If you don't know her, get to.

seems ungrammatical to him, but he doesn't know why.

I would suggest it's because "get to know" has an idiomatic meaning which is a bit different from the generic use of "get to [verb]." The idiomatic meaning suggests a gradual process of acquaintance, the generic meaning emphasizes a special opportunity to [verb].

"I get to know her over drinks," (idiomatic) means something different from "I get to know the password, because I have a security clearance." (non-idiomatic)

The asterisked sentence sounds strange because the listener wants to apply "get to..." in the generic way, but the speaker is using it in the idiomatic way.


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