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) or 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 this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: England (RP)

I I've . The interview Thursday haven't me.
I don't I've got the . The interview last Thursday they haven't back to me.

…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”.

Discussion questions

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

  • 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?”

Was this helpful?