I dont think I have ever heard this contruction ( can + be + participle of get), so I assume it's either wrong or sounds bad. In my opinion, similar verbs seem to work fine such as obtain or acquire.

For example:

This item can be obtained from this market.

but not:

This item can be got/gotten from this market.

  • 1
    It doesn't sound good to me, but I think it might be technically permissible. Certainly I wouldn't phrase anything this way with got/gotten, but I have heard it in the past (but always thought it sounded bad). It also sounds like something which might have been more prevalent and acceptable in the past, but I'll let someone who's actually got the research or facts to back it up answer!
    – 3N1GM4
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 11:03
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    I would suggest that you Ngram these sorts of questions in the future. Or provide links to the Ngrams and then ask your questions if the Ngrams hadn't answered them for you. Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 11:40

2 Answers 2


These two Ngrams might help: can be gotten and can be got.

The former has been steadily decreasing in usage since 1917 (with a slight rise and peak in 1945 and 1975), but the latter has dropped from usage even more so since from around 1880 to 1895.


in the famous debate with F.Copleston, Bertrand Russell(1872 - 1970) said : Then I can only say you're looking for something which can't be got, and which one ought not to expect to get.

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