3

In these sentences (in a book about human rights) I can't understand the meaning of the word "get":

Treat a person like a human being and you'll get a human being.

Treat people like human beings and you will get truly human beings.

I guess its meaning is "understand" but I'm not certain; that is, if you look any person before you as a human being, you may understand humans and sympathize with them.

13

Your guess is reasonable, but I think it is incorrect. Without more context, I would assume that "you'll get" means something like "the outcome will be" -

"Treat a person like a human being and you'll get a human being."

Treat a person like a human being, and they will behave like a human being.

This is not an obscure usage of get:

  • In jokes: What do you get if cross a parrot with a centipede? (A Walkie Talkie)
  • In popular song: Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get? (Boney fingers)
  • In unhelpful observations: Someone stole your purse? That's what you get for leaving it on your seat.
2

This usage of 'get' is similar to the normal usage meaning 'to obtain or receive', except used to describe an outcome that you obtain.

So, alternate phrasings:

  • Treat a person like a human being and you'll receive a human being.
  • Treat a person like a human being and you'll obtain a human being.
  • Treat a person like a human being and the outcome you'll obtain will be a human being.

Any of which would be understood to mean

Treat a person like a human being and they'll behave like a human being.

as Adam has already pointed out.


Note: The linked dictionary is British, but I know that 'get' is used this way in America, and I assume every other English speaking country as well. This is just the most applicable definition I could find.

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