“Get on”: is it transitive, intransitive or both?

I’m new here (in the sense of asking a question, but I often use the site for reference.)

I have a question regarding the phrasal verb “get on“, or more specifically when used with “with”, eg. “get on with“.

My confusion is partly regarding whether “get on” is transitive or intransitive. When I search the web I always find “get on” listed as intransitive, even when using an example like:

She gets on with her brother

The problem is I found another site that had a similar example that classed her brother as a direct object. But that would make it transitive, right? I think part of my problem is I’m not always sure what makes a verb transitive!

I thought about another verb, walk, that can be both transitive and intransitive and sentences like:

I walked a lot - *intransitive?*
I walked with her - *transitive?*
I walked many miles - *transitive?*
I walked the dog - *transitive?*

And then I thought back to get on with sentences like:

I get on with her - *transitive?*
I get on at school - *transitive?*
We get on - *intransitive?*
I'm getting on well - *intransitive?*

I’m not sure if “with her” and “at school” would be classed as direct objects. Any clarification would be much appreciated! I have to do a TEFL later this year and this is one area I want to understand better.

Alex

Answer

Get on, as you’ve used it, is an intransitive phrasal verb. Here is the OED’s take on it:

get, v. PHRASAL VERBS to get on 8. intransitive. Of a person: to enjoy or maintain friendly relations or intimacy with (another); (of
more than one person) to agree, harmonize, fraternize, or enjoy
friendly relations (together).
Source: Oxford English
Dictionary
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Here are some examples:

Bob and I just don’t get on.
We get on well.
They get on with everyone.

Well functions as an adverb, as does the prepositional phrase with everyone.

If you want, you can call get on with a phrasal-prepositional verb, as seen at Cambridge Dictionary‘s Phrasal verbs and multi-word verbs. A prepositional verb is one that usually collocates with a particular preposition (e.g. get on with with or laugh with at). The prepositional verb is considered intransitive as it cannot take an object itself:

The art critic looked at the painting. (correct)
*The art critic looked the painting. (incorrect)
His parents have been arguing about money. (correct)
*His parents have been arguing money. (incorrect)
His parents have been arguing. (correct)
Source: Prepositional Verbs and Verb
Phrase
Complements

(see also references at end)

Often, prepositional verbs—even though they are intransitive—can use their prepositional phrase’s object as a subject in a passive voice construction. Like this:

Active: They laughed at the clown. Passive: The clown was laughed
at [by them].

Others are idioms that can’t be separated. Like this:

Active: She gets on with her brother. Passive: *Her brother is
gotten on with [by her].
(*don’t do that)

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Alex Bennett , Answer Author : Tinfoil Hat

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