get back to: meaning and explanation

We use the phrasal verb to get back to someone to mean that we will contact or talk to somebody again at a future time.

This might be because we are unable to speak to someone at that time, or because we need to wait a while before doing it. This might be because we are unavailable, e.g. I’m busy at the moment. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you.

It could also be because we need some time to think or prepare, e.g. I don’t have the figures with me at the moment. Can I get back to you tomorrow?

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: England (RP)

. .
I I've . The interview Thursday haven't me.

About the sentence

…they haven’t got back to me

The present perfect (they haven’t got back to me) is used here because the speaker is talking about an unfinished time period up to the present. She is still waiting, and they still haven’t contacted her.

Imagine she says this months later – in this case, the time period for her would be finished (as she is not waiting for them to call any more). She would say “I had an interview with them but they didn’t get back to me” or “They never got back to me”.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Scotland

. .

call. Please and I'll you.

Micro-listening #3

Accent: North America

. ?
I time to think . Can I tomorrow?

About the sentence

…to think this over…

We use the expression think something over when we are talking about thinking carefully about something, often before we need to make a decision about it. e.g. Don’t rush into a decision now. Take a few days to think it over, and then let me know what you think.

Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • Has anyone ever said they would get back to you about something, and then didn’t?
  • Write a short dialogue in which someone uses the phrase: “Can I get back to you on that?”