In Indian dialect, the commonest phrase you find among us is get ready when we have plan to go out. It does not matter whether we are going to party, movie, outside eating or whatever... if we are going out of the home, we use this phrase to tell a person that they should get ready by...

  1. putting up good attire
  2. wear some accessories
  3. do some makeup to look good
  4. whatever it takes to go out comfortably

get ready, in Indian English will include everything that I mentioned and if you tell this phrase to any Indian while going out, he or she will understand that.

Since I'm keen to learn neutral English I found that get ready is not exactly what we understand. Also, natives tell this way - get ready for the [reason -say party] which makes better sense but then that's not the case. It's just outing and get ready for outing will mean something else and not putting up dress and ..till 4th point.

Is there any term/phrase that will convey this message. I don't want to use get ready for this after learning the meaning of get ready from here, here, and here.

What natives practice makes utter sense get ready for... but then in my case as I described, it won't make much sense (get ready for restaurant! get ready for the beach!..and so on...)

Again, to clarify, we use get ready in this way...

"Okay, I'm bored; and we are going out. I don't know where but somewhere to unwind.
(After 30 minutes; to my wife) "Ah, what are you doing? get ready...fast." - And, she would understand all those 4 points up there!

  • I find lots of strange uses in the wording in your question, but not in how you describe "get ready". We would use it in exactly the way you describe in Australia. We can say "get ready for dinner", "get ready to go out", or just plain "get ready". Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 17:17

3 Answers 3


I'm a native speaker, and we use "get ready" in exactly the way you describe.

Even though we sometimes qualify the phrase by saying: Get ready for [some event], that "for" clause can be omitted when the listener already knows where we are going. In other words, although get ready can mean different things in different contexts, I can still usually say:

C'mon! We're leaving! You need to get ready!

and that will be understood to mean: put your shoes on, brush your teeth, comb your hair and look presentable, etc.

The precise meaning get ready will vary, depending on where we are going. So long as the hearer knows where we are going, I don't need to add the, say, for your piano practice. For example, I have teenagers at home, so, for me, it works very much like this:

what "get ready" means

10 or 15 years ago, though, whenever I said, "Let's get ready" to my wife, that always included "Make sure we have the diaper bag!"

You needn't worry about get ready being misconstrued to mean "brace yourself for some bad news" or "get into your starting blocks." Those are very specialized meanings that people wouldn't even think about, unless they were in a situation where that would be the meaning that makes the most sense.

For example, if you wanted your picture taken, and I was holding your camera, I might say, "Get ready..." – which doesn't mean, "go put on your shoes," or, "brace yourself for some bad news." It simply means, "Get ready, I'm going to snap the picture now" – so you should probably just give me your best smile.

  • 1
    One afterthought: if the hearer doesn't know the destination, and I say, "C'mon, let's get ready," the answer I'm most likely to receive is a quizzical look, accompanied by, "Get ready for what?"
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 9:43
  • 1
    As a British native speaker, I also understand "get ready" exactly as described here and in the question. Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 11:07

I would understand get ready exactly how you describe it originally, and so would my wife. Neither of us are native speakers but we consider ourselves near-native.

I'm not really sure what you see as another meaning of get ready being expressed.

In the situation that we are about to go out (just go down-town, with no specific plans), the following conversation would be just fine:

We said we were going out. Will you get ready?
Ok, I'll put on my dress.
after 30 minutes
Are you ready yet?
I can't find my earrings!
They are next to your bed!
another 30 minutes later
Are you ready?
I'm putting on my make-up!
Get ready!
another 30 minutes later
Are we ready then?
Wait, I'm looking for my bag and my glasses!

  • Actually, the only implied point that some people (women?) don't seem to understand is number 5: do all those things in a timely fashion!
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 9:04

I would simply say it means "prepare yourself as needed."

In addition to what else has been posted, you may here "Get ready to party!" So, in that case the only preparation you need is to get excited for whatever is about to happen. This is different from "getting ready for a/the party," during which time you do what you listed in the question.

If someone says they are "getting ready for Christmas," it can mean anything from simply being in the mood for it to actually doing the decorating, cooking, shopping, and all the rest.

As long as the preparer knows for what they preparing, then they ought to know how to prepare. If you don't know how to "get ready" you can check what other people are doing to prepare.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .