12

Consider these expressions:

The moment you walk out of the building, you will see various cabs parked outside.

The moment you get out of the building, you will see various cabs parked outside.

Is there any difference between these two expressions? How do "get out" and "walk out" differ in meaning?

12

Basically, no, there is no difference in this case. The only real difference here is that "walk out" specifies method of travel (walking). But you already knew that.

I would caution you, however, that there are many contexts in which there is a difference. The phrase "get out", especially when used as an imperative (command), quite often implies a very harsh tone, anger, and even a threat. However, because you are using it in a context that merely discusses the act hypothetically, it won't be taken as harsh.

Another caution: this is a somewhat less common way to use "get out", and a less common way to say what the sentence is trying to say (at least in my experience). It sounds somewhat out of place there. A better phrasing would perhaps be one of the following:

  • The moment you leave the building...
  • The moment you exit the building...
  • The moment you arrive outside (of the building)...
  • 4
    +1 "Get out" is more likely to be used in a context of effort or escape: "I finally got out of ... ", "I got out of ... just in time". – StoneyB Feb 19 '13 at 14:11
  • Also, a walk out (leaving in protest) is different to a get out (a way of circumventing some rule) – Matt Ellen Feb 19 '13 at 16:24
  • I agree with @StoneyB. "Get out" can imply an escape, while "walk out" can imply a calm departure. – Dani Feb 19 '13 at 18:02
  • In this case "get out" is more imperative, as if there was a need to do so by any means. "Walk out" is more instructional, with a strict expression of how one should leave - for example in a school, if there is a fire drill, the teacher may say "Walk out orderly in single file.". However in the case where there is not a figure of authority, everyone may shout "Get out!". – Felix Weir Feb 20 '13 at 13:40
9

You can get out of a building by walking out, crawling out, running out, flying out, dancing out, rolling out, teleporting out, or in whatever way you please.

Walking out of a building is rather more specific.

  • If it is a parking garage you can drive out, and think about a train station or using a bicycle - lots of possibilities indeed! Not to forget those: ell.stackexchange.com/q/2500/232 – Stephen Feb 19 '13 at 20:26
4

As mentioned in previous answers, in the present instance there is little or no difference in meaning between “get out” and “walk out”, except that the latter is more specific about the method of transport. Of course, there are many other contexts where the two phrases can't be interchanged, or where interchanging them would change the meaning.

Note that while both your examples are grammatically sound and fairly clear in meaning, neither is colloquial nor something I'd expect to hear from a native speaker. Given a lead-in like “The moment you walk out of the building”, native speakers expect a statement of drastic consequences to follow. For example: “The moment you walk out of the building, that's it, we're through”. If all you mean to say is that there's a cab-line right outside the building, use something like either of

When you leave the building, you'll see a taxi-line.
There's a line of cabs near the front door.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.