Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Get and Got

Get is the present tense form of the verb to get. Got is the past tense form, as well the past participle in a sentence such as “We have got two tickets”.

Present tense: I get my groceries from the shop down the road.

Past tense: I got my groceries yesterday from the shop down the road.

In each of the examples below “get” and “got” are used to mean “receive” or “obtain”.

However, get or got can be replaced by several other words.

More examples:

  • He gets (obtains) his books from the local library.
  • He got (obtained) his books from the local library last week.
  • Rita gets (receives) extra pay for doing over-time.
  • Rita got (received) extra pay for doing over-time last month.
  • This restaurant gets (obtains) fish from overseas.
  • This restaurant got (obtained) fish from overseas for their festival yesterday.
  • I get (become) lonely when you are not here.
  • He got fired (lost his job) for habitually being late.
  • Michael gets (becomes) very angry if I am late.
  • Michael got (became) very angry because I was late.
  • Lorna got (became) used to her new surroundings.

In informal speech, many speakers use have got, or simply got to mean “have” or “must.” You should avoid this usage of the verb get in your writing; instead, use have or must.  The sentence “We have got a lot to do before we leave” is better expressed by saying “We have a lot to do before we leave”.  The words get and got are very commonly used in speech but you should avoid using them when writing.

Common use of the word “get” or “got” when talking, is illustrated below.

  • Hurry up, I’ve got to run. (Meaning: I have to or I must run).
  • Let’s get together tomorrow to discuss our vacation plans. (Meaning: Let us meet tomorrow to discuss our vacation plans).
  • Come on, get it together and do a better job of painting the wall. (Meaning: Improve your performance and do a better job of painting the wall).

When you say “I have got” something, it means that some time in the past, you received it. At one time you didn’t have it, and then at some later time, you did. When you say “I have” something, it means that you are in possession of it.

“Have got” is commonly used in a sentence such as shown below:

  • Stay away from Sheila.  She has got chicken pox.  (She has acquired …)
  • I have got hundred dollars from my yard sale. (I acquired or received…)
  • I have a hundred dollars.  (I am in possession of a hundred dollars.)

Get or got can be replaced by several other words besides obtain or receive.

GET or GOT used in a phrasal verb

Phrasal verbs are verbs made up of a verb plus one or more prepositions such as of, to, with, etc.. Phrasal verbs can be separable or inseparable, meaning that they can stay together or be separated. Phrasal verbs are some of the most commonly used verbs in everyday English used by native English speakers.

Example Meaning

I want to get ahead in life.I want to be successful in life.

Unfortunately, the thief got away.Unfortunately the thief escaped.

I hope I get through the exam.I hope I pass the exam.

I have got over the breakup with Alan.I have recovered from the breakup.

He gets on well with Alice.Alice and he have a good relationship.

She got her camera back from John.She recovered her camera from John.

Peter gets by on barely $500 per month. Peter survives financially on barely $500.

I’ve got to resit the exam.I must resit the exam.

Let’s get together tomorrow.Let’s meet tomorrow.

Tim got a caterer for his party.Tim hired a caterer for his party.

Get in before you get wet.Enter before you get wet.

She has got to study harder. She must study harder.

It is recommended that get and got should not be used in formal writing.  Instead, use a substitute word as shown in the above examples.


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2 Comments

  1. The problem people don’t understand is ‘get’ is really a past, present and future. I get my groceries from the store down the street can happen in the past and also at the time you say it leaving the house or in the future another day. So ‘get’ is all in saying that.

    I have a serious problem with my mother all the time when she talks to me. She will be telling me something and I will say to her, “I get it”. What does she do? She repeats the same thing every time I say it. The reason she tells me she repeats is she says I don’t understand her. How the heck does “I get it” mean I don’t understand? She acts like I am the stupid one. I rather say “I get it” than “I got it” which means I would have got it before she said it.

    Every time we go through this every time and she just keeps repeating like she makes it a reason of her own to repeat again and again and until it just blows up in both our faces. She does not get it.

    • She even criticizes others for speaking wrong and she does not even understand “I get it”. If she does not understand that, then she should never criticize anyone ever. Really annoys me when people try to teach English grammar and their just as bad as anyone else.

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