Today’s example shows us how we can use the phrasal verb “get along” to talk about how people live together. To get along well is to live together well.
What other phrasal verbs do you like that use “get”?
courtesy - To treat others with manners and respect.
bump - To hit, strike, or jolt. It can also be a noun, like, “A bump in the road.”
mimic - To copy someone or something exactly.
horoscope - Individual predictions made from your zodiac sign.
Some countries in the world are really good for cycling. The Netherlands is one place that has been bicycle friendly for a long time. Other places, such as America and Australia, have many cyclers but most places in the country are not bicycle friendly, probably because they are newer societies with more of a car focus. The number of bicycle riders is increasing, but the conditions for riding are not getting much better. I was surprised to see cyclers on very busy access roads as cars sped past them when I went back to Texas for Christmas.
Today’s tweet has a link. That link goes to a discussion about the Australian government wanting to have cyclists register all of their bicycles. The cyclers are against this as it will be expensive for them and it won’t help with the problem that cyclists and drivers don’t always get along.
I’m reminded of one experience my good friend had in America. He rides his bicycle every chance he gets. One day, while going to work, he didn’t have any choice but to cycle in a lane meant for cars. One truck driver got behind him, and started honking his horn and screaming at my friend out of the window. There was nothing my friend could do.
Eventually, the truck driver bumped my friend’s back wheel with the front of his truck. This caused my friend to lose control and crash to the side of the road. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt, but his bike was damaged and the truck driver sped away.
I live in Japan, and riding bicycles is a common thing for many people to do every day. While cars are good about looking for cyclists before turning, the sidewalks and streets are sometimes very narrow, and riding can be a little dangerous.
How is bike riding in the country you live?
Today’s example uses very basic, common words, but “courtesy” might be new to you. Althought it is written with ‘court’, this is pronounced [curt]. If you mispronounce courtesy, it will probably still be understandable as there is no other word that sounds like this. Just remember that it’s not pronounced how it looks.
The rest of today’s tips are the usual things to be careful listening to and mimicking. Use the pronunciation guide below to help you, but try to visualize how it’s spoken in a way that is easy for you to understand.
“Bicycles are” will most likely be connected, making it “Bicycles-’re”. This is because we want the focus to be on ‘not’, which is why it is stressed. In almost all cases where something is not something else, the not is stressed so that it is not mistaken. In the same way, ‘they’re the answer’ tells us what bicycles really are. In this case, ‘answer’ is stressed to communicate what is important.
The next phrase, “With just a little courtesy,” the ‘little’ and beginning of ‘courtesy’ are stressed. This intonation carries the nuance, “even if there was just a little courtesy,” as if to say it wouldn’t be difficult to do.
In the last phrase, just notice how words are connected and pronounced. “Bike and car people” is all going to be connected, with ‘and’ becoming very short in the middle. Likewise, ‘can’ is shortened to ‘cun’, connecting the first part and last part of the phrase. Listen carefully and repeat several times.
Practice the sentence like this:
“Bicycles-’re not the problem -/ they’re the answer. / With just a little courtesy, / bike-n-car-people cun get-along just-fine.”
*Hyphens (-) show what words should be blended together, bold big letters show accents, and (/) show long pauses.
Using the Language
The main focus of today’s example is the phrasal verb “get along”.
In the tweet, it is structured like:
(noun) + [can] get along + (adverb).
You may know the word ‘along’. It has a few different meanins. One meaning is the length or direction of something. If you “walk along the road”, you follow the road. ‘Along’ can also be at a point along something or as part of a course. If there is “a house along the river”, the house is somewhere by the river.
So to say ‘get along’ can mean to ‘go or to follow some course.’ When we use it as it is in today’s example, we mean that cyclists and motorists can live in peace with each other–in other words, ‘get along just fine.’
We can use ‘get along + (adverb)’ to talk about how well two people or things live together as they are on the same course. Whether that course is school, work, or a relationship, we can use this very useful phrasal verb to explain the situation.
In addition to ‘just fine’ I’ve added some more examples that use common word combinations like ‘quite well’. Note that we don’t naturally say ‘just well’ or ‘quite fine’.
As always, try to write your own example sentences and email me, tweet to me, or comment on the site. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me about today’s lesson.
“According to my horoscope, I was supposed to get along great with everyone today.”
“The kids got along really well today for the first time in a while.”
“How are you getting along with everyone in your dorm?”
“Despite what everyone thinks, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had actually gotten along quite well.”
When to use these examples
Using Example #1 - Your friend is big into (really likes) horoscopes. She reads hers every morning. You see her in the break room at the office crying. She tells you that she just had a big fight with her boyfriend at lunch. She then said,
“I don’t understand. According to my horoscope, I was supposed to get along great with everyone today.”
Using Example #2 - You work at a kindergarten, and most days are filled with children fighting over toys and other arguments. Today was a surprisingly good day, so you go home feeling less tired than usual. Your husband asks you why you’re so happy, and you tell him about your day. You say,
“Because all the kids got along really well today for the first time in a while.”
Using Example #3 - Your oldest daughter just moved out and will start university classes soon. She’s living in the dorm and has only been there a couple of weeks. You finally get a chance to talk to her on the phone. You finally get a chance to talk to her on the phone. You’ve got so many questions, and you’re worried about how she is making friends. You ask her,
“How are you getting along with everyone in your dorm?”
Using Example #4 - You’re a big fan of Steve Jobs, and since his death you’ve been trying to learn more about him and his life. You are watching an interview with his wife, Laurene, and she is asked about her husband’s relationship with Bill Gates. You are a little surprised to hear her say,
“Despite what everyone thinks, Bill Gates and Steve had actually gotten along quite well.” You can see this story here.