+1

get the feel of

to become familiar with something

This software is a little complicated to use, but you'll soon get the feel of it.

get a feel for

(expr.) learn about
The only way to get a feel for driving is by doing it.

get a feel of

A vague mental impression.
You should get a feel of the area before moving in.

These 3 expressions are similar. I've found the above definitions at different websites. Could you help me to understand/distinguish these more clearly?

Examples & My Interpretations

1. I want to get the feel of his mental condition.

(to understand his feeling, pain, empathize with him???)

2. I want to get a feel for his mental condition.

(to try to learn about his condition, initial impression???)

3. I want to get a feel of his mental condition.

(i don't see any difference between #3 and #2)
+1
Hi,

get the feel of

to become familiar with something

This software is a little complicated to use, but you'll soon get the feel of it.

get a feel for

(expr.) learn about
The only way to get a feel for driving is by doing it.

get a feel of

A vague mental impression.
You should get a feel of the area before moving in.

These 3 expressions are similar. I've found the above definitions at different websites.

Broadly speaking, these are reasonable definitions.

Could you help me to understand/distinguish these more clearly?

Examples & My Interpretations

1. I want to get the feel of his mental condition.

(to understand his feeling, pain, empathize with him???)

Yes, that's a reasonable interpretation.

2. I want to get a feel for his mental condition.

(to try to learn about his condition, initial impression???)

Yes, that's a reasonable interpretation.

3. I want to get a feel of his mental condition.

(i don't see any difference between #3 and #2)

I don't, either. Perhaps it just sounds a slightly vaguer thing to say.

Clive
Comments  
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Great question. I wish it got more quality input from knowledgeable native speakers. I've always thought that the phrase means 'to acquire a general idea, the initial knowledge, a basic skill in smth' -- because the word 'feel' implied, to me, tentativeness (from the experience of blind people). Similar to the last definition you quoted and to the wording of Farlex Dictionary of Idioms: "To begin having a general sense of". Especially when the indefinite article ('a') is used. But other dictionaries use phrases like 'substantial knowledge' in the definition of this idiom (Get the feel of - Idioms by The Free Dictionary ). And the dictionaries I consulted seem not to distinguish between 'get the feel of' and 'get a feel for'.

Yours,

Confused

ShibenikI've always thought that the phrase means 'to acquire a general idea, the initial knowledge, a basic skill in smth'

You don't say which phrase.

Shibenikbecause the word 'feel' implied, to me, tentativeness (from the experience of blind people).

No, that is not the connotation. The thing becomes second nature. You can do it instinctively, without thinking about it too much.

ShibenikSimilar to the last definition you quoted and to the wording of Farlex Dictionary of Idioms: "To begin having a general sense of". Especially when the indefinite article ('a') is used. But other dictionaries use phrases like 'substantial knowledge' in the definition of this idiom (Get the feel of - Idioms by The Free Dictionary ). And the dictionaries I consulted seem not to distinguish between 'get the feel of' and 'get a feel for'.

Again, you do not say which phrase. It matters what words are there in what order One at a time:

"to get the feel of" - The OED calls this "originally US", which is often code for "illiterate mistake that has somehow entered common parlance, even here in the cradle of the language, England". This so-called expression is not in my working vocabulary here in the Middle Atlantic region of the US. Those words in that order are, however, an unremarkable way of expressing what we see in one of the OED's citations, "When a man first takes hold of a swivel plow..it gets away from him immediately. He has not got the feel of it." An actual expression I can use is "to get the hang of".

"to get a feel for" - The OED defines this as "A talent or aptitude; an (intuitive) understanding or awareness." This is standard English.

"to get a feel of" - I wanted to say that this is not English, but I have burned myself that way many times before. So, I looked it up. It is not English. I suppose people say it, but they say a lot of things that are not standard English and are not readily understandable. Forget this one.

Thanks for your feedback.

Re: 'feel' - 'tentativeness', there's also the phrase 'feel one's way', i.e. proceed cautiously in an unfamiliar or risky situation. Seemingly borrowed from the experience of a person who can't see, who literally feels his way through.

Re: 'get a feel for' in the sense of 'talent', 'intuition', I notice that American Heritage uses the word 'have' instead of 'get' -- 'have a feel for' -- seemingly because one is born with a natural capability, a talent, i.e. s/he has it -- as opposed to a skill, which could be developed ('gotten').

In the last paragraph you say that "it is not English". How have you determined this? Where have you looked it up? (Me, I've definitely heard this idiom in the sense quoted in OP)

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ShibenikRe: 'feel' - 'tentativeness', there's also the phrase 'feel one's way', i.e. proceed cautiously in an unfamiliar or risky situation. Seemingly borrowed from the experience of a person who can't see, who literally feels his way through.

Right. That is a verb, though. This is a noun, the feel of something. The feel of a woman's touch. The feel of fine silk on your body. A movie can have the feel of a Thirties noir.

ShibenikRe: 'get a feel for' in the sense of 'talent', 'intuition', I notice that American Heritage uses the word 'have' instead of 'get' -- 'have a feel for' -- seemingly because one is born with a natural capability, a talent, i.e. s/he has it -- as opposed to a skill, which could be developed ('gotten').

I just now looked in the AHD online, and I don't see "have a feel for". Please provide a link. But yes, you can have a feel for something, meaning that it is natural for you.

ShibenikIn the last paragraph you say that "it is not English". How have you determined this?

Nowhere in the entire OED does that phrase occur. I have never heard or read it. It sounds like a foreigner's or illiterate's mistake for "get a sense of". But if it is common in some dialect, so be it. Just don't expect to be understood if you venture outside the valley of your birth tribe.

ShibenikWhere have you looked it up? (Me, I've definitely heard this idiom in the sense quoted in OP)

I don't need to look it up (but I did, anyway). You said "I wish it got more quality input from knowledgeable native speakers." Don't I seem knowledgeable to you? I am a native speaker, mumblety years old, and no dummy. They had me tested. Go ahead and use it if you must, but I still advise against it. You don't seem to recognize the differences between the wordings even when they're spelled out for you, so you won't know what you're saying, and neither will anyone else.