When I encountered him I didn’t care to take a picture until the next day when I got/was given another chance and he was [...]

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    If by "correct" you mean "grammatical and idiomatic", neither is "incorrect", and both are "correct". The first is in the active voice, and the second in the passive. Two different verbs are used; got is the past tense of the verb to get, and given is the past participle of the verb to give. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Oct 6 '16 at 8:27
  • Also, "I was given" is more formal than "I got". – John Feltz Oct 6 '16 at 11:50
  • You could also say things like I received/obtained/acquired. Those are all active and non-colloquial. – shawnt00 Oct 6 '16 at 15:18

I got a gift from my mother

I was given a gift by my mother.

This is much the same in English as in other languages. They give something to you; you receive something from them. Both describe more or less the same action, you just swap the subject and object of the sentence.

In this case there is a difference in nuance between "got the chance" and "was given the chance". "Got" can mean "received" but it can also imply simple opportunity, as in "I saw him on the street and took his picture (with or without his consent)". "Was given" strongly implies consent (although in some contexts it can refer to "divine providence", i.e. "God gave me the opportunity").

So if you want to be clear that he agreed to have his picture taken, you would use "was given". If you actually took the picture without consent you would say "got". If this isn't important, either will do.

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I’m no English language expert, but when I hear, “we got given a new dog,” it sounds so incredibly ignorant. “We were given a new dog” sounds correct to me, or “we received a new dog.” I live in California now, coming from Onlahoma for 30 years, and I’ve heard TONS of people use the term “we got given xyz” and it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me! Maybe it’s a coloqial thing.

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  • 1
    Hello Ross. Please have a look at the tour. The question here is slightly different from the one you have answered: It is whether "I got a dog" or "I was given a dog" is the correct form. This doesn't really answer the question. Also, check for typos when writing an answer, and it is usually better to avoid figurative speech that can confuse a learner. If you take a look at the list of newest questions I'm sure you'll find some you can answer. – James K Jul 12 '18 at 5:38

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