Is it true to say “you can pay when the order gets ready”? Can we use “get + ready” for the things that will happen in future??

  • 1
    You should clarify the intended meaning -- do you want the customer to pay while the order gets prepared, or after the order is prepared?
    – jchook
    Apr 27, 2019 at 15:36

3 Answers 3


Everyone would know what you meant if you said "you can pay when the order gets ready," but it is a less accurate way of saying what you want to say. Using "gets" implies action. Actually, it implies that the order is taking action itself. It is making itself ready on its own. Obviously, that is not true. Someone is making or preparing the order. A better way to say this would be "you can pay when the order is ready." This works because "is" is a state of being, rather than an implied action. Alternatively, if you are talking about a person being ready for something, then it is perfectly fine to say "when he/she gets ready" because the person is performing the action of getting ready themselves, unlike an object. I hope that makes sense.

  • Quite so. Indeed if someone said "when the order gets ready" I would half expect a rejoinder of "Oh, did it need to put on its own sauce then?" or something of the sort. Apr 26, 2019 at 20:50
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    Frankly, the fact it might be understood is just silly. It is non-native. You can pay when the order is ready.
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2019 at 14:50
  • @Lambie I agree. If somebody told me, "You can pay when the order gets ready,* I'd look at them strangely and reply, "What do you mean?" It would be such an unusual statement that (unless it was clear they didn't speak English natively), I'd assume they did not mean "when the order is ready." (It would more likely mean, "you can pay now, while the order is being filled.") So, I'd question what they meant. Apr 28, 2019 at 7:53

We would normally say "when the order is ready" to express that particular future eventuality.

We normally use get ready to express a person's preparedness for an activity, and it is important to note that it is a present action, something undertaken now, that prepares for the future necessity.

  • 1
    "gets ready" can be used for a future action when the preperations are predicted.For example: "He will go to college when he gets ready -- perhaps in a year or two." or "She will be down after she gets ready -- have a seat and wait." Apr 26, 2019 at 21:01
  • @David: Well, if someone is working now to get ready for a future event or condition, that really doesn't mean that current work is future work.
    – Robusto
    Apr 26, 2019 at 22:09

The objection that orders do not get themselves ready could be answered by rewriting the sentence this way:

You can pay when _____ gets your order ready.

Fill in the blank with a description of the person or persons you prepare the kind of order you are waiting for.

There is a second problem with this sentence, however, which is that the act of getting an order ready takes some time. It is usually a process with a beginning and an end. Do you pay when the process starts, or when it ends?

If the answer to that question is that you can pay at the beginning of the process, at the end, or at any time in between, one would more likely say,

You can pay while _____ gets your order ready.

One could imagine someone in a shop or restaurant saying this as a way to save some of the customer's time: by the time the order has been completely prepared they will already have paid and can leave immediately.

On the other hand, if the answer is that you pay at the end of the process (which is the most likely interpretation of the word "when" in this context), then the idiomatic phrase is "when your order is ready," as explained in the other answers. This is unambiguous enough, since the order is ready when the process has been completed but is not ready before then.

  • + 1 It could be useful to point out: get x ready=prepare. This answer is "organic" and explains why an error like this might be made.
    – Lambie
    Apr 28, 2019 at 14:20

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