Context: This drug has affected me a lot.

Passive: I have got affected by this drug a lot.

I have not used "have been", so is it correct?

  • I have got affected is not grammatical English. Jun 20, 2017 at 19:15
  • 1
    No, it doesn't work. I think it's because the "got" passive is only available in simple tenses, not in perfect tenses. So I got affected by this drug is fine, but not I have got affected by this drug.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 20, 2017 at 19:16
  • @ColinFine Your punt is far more elegant than mine. In idiomatic (USAian, primarily) English, I suppose we can say that to get VERBed is a form of the passive. Isn't the OP's sentence then just the past form of the passive? Jun 20, 2017 at 19:17
  • 1
    Yes, @P.E.Dant, to get VERBed is indeed a form of the passive, but it isn't used in perfect tenses. I just searched on GloWbE: there are only 833 instances of "HAVE got VERBed", and most of these are not passives but other idioms like "get married" and "get rid of". In contrast there are 162 468 instances of "GET VERBed". (Many of those are "get rid of" etc, but the much greater frequencies are striking)
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 20, 2017 at 19:28
  • 2
    @Andrew: "get sick" is not passive in either form or meaning.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 20, 2017 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


If you use that construction, "got" must be "gotten" (at least in American and Canadian English).

It's true that this is a kind of second passive voice and is used now and then.

He was killed in the last airstrike.
He got killed in the last airstrike.

He had been enlisted.
He had gotten enlisted.

He was sent a letter.
He got sent a letter.

But two things stand out that you should take notice of:

  1. If it works at all in the sentence, it's less formal, possibly even childishly familiar. For example, imagine an officer informing a new widow of her husband's death in battle.

Ma'am, your husband has been killed by enemy forces.
Ma'am, your husband has gotten killed by enemy forces.
(This second one sounds somewhat childlike and is not well suited to the scenario.)

  1. I have an inkling that one only uses "to get ___ed" for verbs of limited aspect; that is, verbs that describe one-time actions.

She has always run into fans at her concerts and has gotten photographed at every one.
She always plays a few fan favourites, and her performances have always gotten adored.
(This should be "been adored".)

Because of this second caveat in particular, I recommend "have been" here.

If you want to be safe, you can always use "to be ___ed"; it has neither of these issues.

P.S. "a lot" in this sentence means "many times". Consider "heavily affected" or "strongly affected" if you don't mean it happened more than once.

  • "Had gotten affected" is ... well, I guess it's possible but it sounds like a vernacular, similar to "done did", "That medicine done did affect me something powerful!" I don't know if it would ever sound natural coming from someone who doesn't speak that vernacular.
    – Andrew
    Jun 20, 2017 at 19:27
  • @Andrew: calling it "a vernacular" to me obscures the fact that you are talking about a dialect (or several dialects).
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 20, 2017 at 21:20
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    "Gotten" is rare in Britsh Englis, in any sense.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 20, 2017 at 21:20

You're right that "get + PP" is an alternative passive in spoken English; but it is rarely used in a perfect tense. So

I got affected by this drug a lot.

is fine; but for the present perfect, you need a different form, such as

I have been affected by this drug a lot

I have not seen this restriction documented, but I just searched in GloWbE (the corpus of Global Web-based English), and I find 833 instances of "HAVE got VERBed" (543 instances if I remove instances of "have got rid of" and "have got married", which do not function as passives), as against 162468 instances of "GET VERBed" (116430 if I remove "got rid of" and "got married"). In other words, in that corpus, only about 0.5% of "got" passives are in perfect tenses.

  • Hmm.. this analysis is incomplete. (1) What about "HAVE gotten VERBed"? (2) How can we know the significance of 0.5% unless we know the proportion of perfect tenses in general? Or at least, for the sake of side-by-side comparison, the ratio of "HAVE been VERBed" to "be VERBed"? Percentages don't say much without context. Jun 20, 2017 at 20:13
  • Fair comment. The numbers are 223340 for "HAVE been VERBed" against 2067790 for "BE VERBed" - that's something over 10%.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 20, 2017 at 21:04
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    Thanks. And if we add "HAVE gotten VERBed" minus a (quick, not careful) removal of "married" and "rid", we can add about 1,100 verbs to the now-joint "HAVE got/gotten VERBed", but it's still fairly insignificant. Jun 20, 2017 at 21:23

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