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Was/Were & Got: do they mean the same thing? Options
jagh55
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 4:35:14 PM
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The car was stolen
The car got stolen


I got kidnapped
I was kidnapped



Is there a difference in meaning?
RuthP
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 5:26:40 PM

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"Got" is a common daily-English usage in these cases. It means the same thing as using "was". While fine in daily speech, it would not do in formal writing or a formal presentation.
sacarain
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 6:15:49 PM
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Hi. They have the same meaning.
One is expressed with the use of 'GET passive'
and the other is expressed thru 'BE + past participle' which is a common expression.
Romany
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 12:44:23 AM
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Just a small added point: the use of "got" would signal American English. In Standard English this use of got has always signalled bad grammar. However, in spoken English it sometimes creeps in these days.
IMcRout
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 5:02:14 AM
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Romany, wouldn't the Yanks rather use 'gotten' instead of 'got'?
Jus' sayin'.
sacarain
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 7:03:22 AM
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Romany wrote:
Just a small added point: the use of "got" would signal American English. In Standard English this use of got has always signalled bad grammar. However, in spoken English it sometimes creeps in these days.


__
not really a bad grammar but colloquialism
RuthP
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 10:16:25 AM

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IMcRout wrote:
Romany, wouldn't the Yanks rather use 'gotten' instead of 'got'?
Jus' sayin'.

Generally, no.

You might hear a similar usage:
The temperature had gotten hotter and hotter, until by the weekend it was unbearable.

Here "had gotten" is used in place of the more formal (and correct) "had become".

OR
If I had gotten the delivery on time, the copier wouldn't have run out of paper

Here "had gotten" stands in for "had received".

In dealing with the stolen car, past perfect would usually revert to "had been" even in casual speech.
The car had been stolen, stripped, and run into a power pole.

In fact, if I were picking flaws in casual AE, I'd say it is more common for people to use (the jarringly incorrect) "had got" than for "gotten" to replace either "was" or "had been".
thar
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 10:21:46 AM

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At least Americans can rest assured in the knowledge they are speaking with the original English style from the seventeenth century - it is the English who have changed their way of speaking.

and got is often used reflexively in slang
the cat has gotten itself stuck up a tree
she was careless and got herself kidnapped.
kingfisher
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 12:57:39 PM
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RuthP wrote:
IMcRout wrote:
Romany, wouldn't the Yanks rather use 'gotten' instead of 'got'?
Jus' sayin'.

Generally, no.

You might hear a similar usage:
The temperature had gotten hotter and hotter, until by the weekend it was unbearable.

Here "had gotten" is used in place of the more formal (and correct) "had become".

OR
If I had gotten the delivery on time, the copier wouldn't have run out of paper

Here "had gotten" stands in for "had received".

In dealing with the stolen car, past perfect would usually revert to "had been" even in casual speech.
The car had been stolen, stripped, and run into a power pole.

In fact, if I were picking flaws in casual AE, I'd say it is more common for people to use (the jarringly incorrect) "had got" than for "gotten" to replace either "was" or "had been".

As far as I know, there is no particular reason for the use of the word "gotten" in place of "got" in your examples. I know Americans often say things like "the temperature had gotten hotter," but this colloquialism can easily be replaced by "the temperature had got hotter." "Had become" is preferable (by a long shot) to either, but I can't see a difference between the two.
IMcRout
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 1:48:50 PM
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You're right of course, Ruth, and I apologize for trying to be funny about
the wrong subject.
I know that 'gotten' is used in the perfect tenses only, and not in the past.

The discussion just reminded me of a few years back, when I compared two chapters of a Harry Potter book with students, the original British version and the "translated" US version.
Among other things - including the title 'Philosopher's Stone' vs 'Sorcerer's Stone' - almost every 'got' was changed into 'gotten' for American kids.
Take that, Kingfisher! ;-)

We only did this for one chapter, but as a result we were well amused.
excaelis
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 6:12:21 PM

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Correct or not, ' gotten ' really grates on my sensibilities.
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