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From a tutorial

... today's lesson is about prepositions; everybody's favourite little words that get in the middle of everything and cause you lots of trouble, and headaches, and confusion.

I understand it means that the prepositions in question could be used in the middle of phrases and sentences. The question is the use of "get". Is it common to use "get" there? Is it better to say it this way?

... that come in the middle of everything ...

In other words, is it common to use "get" to refer to the position in a sentence?

Note: Ngram Viewer shows the summation of "come" and "comes" is higher than "get".

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  • The speaker (writer) is using something akin to dramatic licence, implying that prepositions are irksome interlopers. I don't like the use of get in this case. Things get in the middle of something because they are being introduced to a location they did not previously inhabit ............."come in the middle" is the most appropriate use in the present context Jun 14 '20 at 11:25
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    Personally, I think troubles with an s is sort of odd. The use of get is fine.
    – Lambie
    Jun 14 '20 at 12:41
  • @Lambie Thank you. I didn't meant to troubles with an s. My question is about "come vs. get" in this particular situation. How should I do to make it clear?
    – PutBere
    Jun 15 '20 at 6:13
  • I gave you that so you can correct your question: lots of trouble. And I have given you the answer to your question. Once you correct your question, I will remove my comment.
    – Lambie
    Jun 15 '20 at 16:13
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    "comes" is wrong -- if you want to use it at all, it should be "come". But whatever. We had it drummed into us at school that "get" is wrong. Twaddle, of course, but let's face it, primary school teachers are not in that position because they're linguistic genii. Jun 15 '20 at 22:02
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  • to get in the middle of something [or everything, as in this case]
  • to get in the way

Both the usages above are idiomatic in English.

In other words, to interfere or come between two things or people.

Those are perfectly standard idiomatic uses of get in English.

"little words that come in the middle of everything" is not really idiomatic.

It sounds forced or slightly off to a native ear in this particular case.

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  • Thank you. Does "off" mean unusual?
    – PutBere
    Jun 14 '20 at 12:56
  • "off" means "wrong", in the sense "Does this milk smell off to you?" Jun 15 '20 at 22:03
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    @PutBere To be off = to not be correct or accurate, idiom.
    – Lambie
    Jun 16 '20 at 13:27
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To get in the middle

means literally

"To place between

but is frequently used metaphorically to mean

To intervene or interfere

The critical point is that it involves an alteration.

A comes between B

may or may not imply an alteration.

Four comes between three and five

describes a permanent state. Thus, when alteration is what is meant the verbs "place," "set," and "get" are better choices. Moreover, "get" is almost always used reflexively so that the subject of the verb is placing itself in the middle.

That gets us back to the playful expression "words that get into the middle of everything." It is cute, but somewhat misleading. "Prepositions" come in front of a prepositional phrase as the root meanings imply, but, when part of a phrasal verb, they come after the verb.

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