Last week I posted about the segment in the textbook on collocations with get. On Friday, there was a section of the weekly test devoted to it. There were eight sentences with a gap in each, and 11 collocations with get in a box at the top. (Very often, textbook activities and tests have exactly the same number of choices as there are questions. I think providing extra choices is a very good idea, because speakers of a language (even second language learners) always have more choices than they need. Providing the exact number of choices often means that students can guess the last one or two.) Several students got all of the questions right, so the section was possible. However, several other students made choices ranging from plausible to unlikely to plain wrong. Some choices were made by more than one student.
“I don’t have any problems with my neighbours. I (get divorced) them.” (plain wrong)
“If they leave work now, they’ll (get up) by five o’clock.” (?this afternoon or tomorrow morning)
“ If they leave work now, they’ll (get divorced) by five o’clock.” (they’re going to the Family Court this afternoon?)
“Do I have to (get up) before I get on the bus?” (it’s a bit hard if you don’t!)
“Mary and Joe have decided to (get divorsed [sic]). The wedding is in June.” (that’s planning ahead!)
“If we (get a ticket) late, we’ll miss the train.” (plausible)
“I’m not very well at the moment, but I hope I’ll (get fit) before my holiday.”(plausible)
“I’m not very well at the moment, but I hope I’ll (get on well) before my holiday.” (I can see the student’s misunderstanding here)
“People often (get better) before interviews.” (true – others attend interviews while still sick)
“People often (get emails) before interviews.” (very true, but it ain’t necessarily so)
“He’s doing more exercise because he wants to (get email).” (huh?)
There are some errors which I can anticipate that students will or might make, so I can specifically address them in class and remind them before (or even during) the weekly test, but there are others which I just can’t anticipate.