GET BY – phrasal verb – meanings and examples

The English phrasal verb GET BY has the following meanings:

1. Get by = to do things with the minimal amount

(intransitive) When someone is doing something with just enough of what they need. They can do what they need to do with the bare essentials though often with difficulty. When someone is living with the minimal amount, living just within their means, and they do not have much extra money, effort, or time to spend. Synonyms include subsist, survive, cope.

  • I don’t have much money until my next payday, but I will get by.
    This means I have enough money to survive until the next time I am paid… if I am careful with my money.
  • We’ll get by with this old computer until we buy a new one.
    This means the computer should be good enough for the job we have to do though we prefer a much faster or better one.
  • It is sometimes difficult to work and study at the same time, but I am sure I will get by.
    This means I think I will manage to survive the difficult of doing both at the same time.

2. Get by = to go unnoticed

(intransitive) When something is missed or goes unnoticed. To happen without being discovered or punished.

  • We have to arrive to work on time. Nothing gets by my boss.
  • Those house alterations will never get by the city council.
  • As an editor, I cannot allow grammar or spelling mistakes to get by me.

3. Get by = to pass or overtake

(transitive) When someone or something is in front of you and you want to pass them. When something is in your way and you need to go past it.

  • Excuse me, we need to get by you but you are taking up all of the space.
  • People can’t get by that car that is parked in the middle of the driveway.

Get by – Summary Chart

GET BY - Meaning and examples of the English Phrasal Verb GET BY

Lesson tags: Across, By, Get, Phrasal Verbs
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