get away with 16

get away with: meaning and explanation

to get away with something = to do something bad or wrong, but avoid punishment.

You might do something bad and get away with it because you didn’t get caught. e.g. Apparently he has been stealing from his boss for years and has somehow got away with it.

It could also be that you get away with it because someone decided not to punish you (e.g. because they forgive you or because they don’t care). e.g. He got away with breaking his sister’s toy because his mum was too tired to punish him.

Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: Scotland

hour late , but I it boss .
I an hour late work, but I away with it my boss hadn't .

…my boss hadn’t noticed

The past perfect (my boss hadn’t noticedis used here because the action (not noticing) happens before the main action in the sentence (getting away with it). We need the past perfect to show that this action happens in the earlier past.

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • Can you remember doing something naughty when you were a child? Did you get away with it or did you get punished?
  • Do you know anyone (e.g. a brother or sister, a friend, a colleague at work) who never gets punished when they do things wrong? Why do they always get away with it?

Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash

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WalterD
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WalterD

when I was a child, I used to take the mangos of my neighboor and I got along with it because my neighboor had not noticed.
my cousin did the same, but he has not the same look.

Lena
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Lena

Hi Chris :)!
As far as I remember my lovely parents always try to clarify what me ought to do when l was wrong.Hence i can’t say neither i was punished no i got away with it

AlineS
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AlineS

I can’t remember if I have already got away with something.
I don’t know anyone who never gets punished when they do things wrong. I could mention politicians in my country, but this is not the moment. Anyway, now I know what means the name of the series How to Get Away With Murder

jeferson
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jeferson

I was with my cousin in the room and I painted the wall. I got away with it because my parents believed that my cousin had been

Marisela
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Marisela

Of course I can remember when I went to a park after school instead of going home. My mom rang me to know where I was because she found it very strange that I hadn’t got home yet. I told her that I was still at school. It seemed that she suspected that I was lying, so she went out to look for me and finally found me playing in the park. I couldn’t get away with it and when we got home she told me off and punished me for three days. Most of my classmates often cheated on… Read more »

IvanR
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IvanR

I remember when I was a 12 or 13 year old kid, my mom used to send me to get the groceries for making lunch. On my way to the store there was a small arcade where I used to spend some coins from my school allowance and I used to get away with it even though my mom had told me not no go into those places. But some day it took me too long to end the game and my mom were looking for me… And she found me. I couldn’t get away with it that day. There… Read more »

yadda
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yadda

My friend’s son broke her flower vase, but he got away with it because she hadn´t notice.

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