Wednesday, May 13, 2009

get to the bottom of it

If you've been studying English for a long time, you know that the verb get has a lot of uses in the English language, especially with phrasal verbs and idioms. I'd like to talk about get again today before we move on to other expressions tomorrow; I'm sure we'll look at the verb get again in the future.

The key, I think, is not to overdo it as to avoid confusion. For you, the important thing is practice and a lot of it. It's really easy to forget something if you don't use it on a regular basis.

Having said that, one common meaning of get to is to reach or to arrive. (We got to the party after midnight. I usually get to work at 7 in the morning. We'll get to class on time; don't worry.

One very useful idiom you should know, however, and our phrase for today is getting to the bottom of something. This expression means reach or find out the reason or the meaning of something.

like this:

1. I don't really know why they didn't come to the party, but I'll get to the bottom of it. (I'll find out the reason why they didn't come.)

2. She's not sure why her professor gave her an F; she's trying to get to the bottom of it. (She's trying to find out the reason why her professor failed her.)

3. He hadn't been feeling well, so he went to see a doctor to get to the bottom of it.

A: I was wondering why she was late again, so I got to the bottom of it.
B: How?
A: I called her mother. She said she overslept because they were out late last night.

Alright, it's your turn. What are you trying to get to the bottom of right now? Remember, use this phrase as often as you can. Make as many sentences as you can and have someone--a friend, a teacher--check them, so you can be comfortable using it on your own.

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Good luck!
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