11

Wareheim said so far the wind has only knocked down branches and limbs small enough to be carried. "Nothing you need to get a chain saw after yet," he said by phone.

As I understand, the sentence is saying that: Nothing you need to get a chain saw after the hurricane is gone yet. But I'm not sure if my understanding is correct?

The full source.

38

To me, this seems like an unusual usage of phrasal verb get after:

get after
2. To pursue something that is a problem or menace: If you don't get after those termites, your house will be destroyed.
(TFD)

You get after [someone/something] (with something). Wareheim's usage strikes me as a (US) Southernism, and the article does state that the man has a home in North Carolina.

The usual construction would be

Nothing you need to get after with a chainsaw yet.
(complete sentence) → [There is] nothing you need to get after with a chainsaw yet.

In other words, there is nothing yet that needs to be handled, cleared, or destroyed with a chainsaw.

  • 1
    "get on to" or "get on top of" are similar non literal constructs which I find are used more commonly. – caesay Sep 15 '18 at 23:49
  • In the context of hurricane Florence, meaning this is the US east coast round about the Carolinas, this is not an unusual usage. <big wide grin> – puppetsock reinstate Monica Sep 17 '18 at 2:22
9

So far [yet, before some more severe destruction] there's nothing to go [get] after with a chain saw.

P. S. Anyway, after points here at the source of trouble needing a chain saw to be applied. Go after means 'to try to find' (e.g. to go after gold), to aim at something needing application of that instrument here. As the other answer shows, the original get after expression has an even more direct meaning addressing something troublesome (with that instrument here).

4

Another way of wording that sentence: So far there has been nothing that needed a chainsaw used on it before it could be removed.

After is being used in the sense of “applied to”.

2

We can get after something that needs tending or requires our action. That is, we see that the thing gets done. We tend to the matter.

I need to get after the backed-up laundry now that the washing machine has been repaired.

We can also get someone after something:

We need to get the dog-catcher after these packs of stray dogs.

And, in an extended, somewhat joking sense, we can get something after something:

I need to get the rake after those dead leaves.

That is, I need to rake those leaves. The rake, being an inanimate object, cannot be given an assignment or a task to complete as the dog-catcher can.

And we can get after something with something.

You need to get after those tall weeds with a sickle. A lawn mower won't do.

  • So, can the original sentence be understood as "Nothing you need to get a chain saw after branches and limbs yet"? – dan Sep 15 '18 at 22:40
  • 1
    @dan: Your paraphrase is not a grammatical sentence. It can be understood as There is nothing, so far, for which you would need a chain saw. Or in a more colloquial register, There is nothing, so far, you would need to take a chain saw to. See take sth to sth. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 16 '18 at 1:27
  • Get down outta that tree, or I'll take a switch to your sorry ass. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 16 '18 at 1:36
  • I made an analogy to your example: "I need to get the rake after those dead leaves." – dan Sep 16 '18 at 1:58
  • Compare "get a chain saw after branches and limbs" to "get the rake after those dead leaves", I don't understand why the latter is right and the former is wrong. – dan Sep 16 '18 at 2:33
2

I think it looks like an unusual usage of the word after. It looks like it could simply be substituted with a for.

Nothing you need to get a chainsaw for yet.

In other words: After the winds as of yet, theres nothing you can't take care of without a chainsaw.

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