Verb to get has a prototypical meaning of acquiring something by some means. The following phrases:

  • to get tired
  • to get late
  • to get married

share common sense of acquiring some state represented by past participle. Could therefore GET + past participle grammatical construction be explained is an acquisition of state? Is there some counter-example?

P.S. As observed in comments by @StoneyB late is not a past participle, but it's still a state. So it seems reasonable to keep this example.

  • 1
    late is not a past participle, though a participle may lie behind it 'way back in PIE. Otherwise, this is a very ingenious analysis of what's usually analyzed as a sort of 'agentive' passive. But get has developed a lot of auxiliary uses over the past couple centuries; see this question Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:36
  • 1
    ('Auxiliary' in a non-technical sense. Get has none of the auxiliary properties: it is inflected for 3sg, it doesn't invert in questions and negatives, it can't 'code', and it isn't employed for emphasis.) Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 17:09
  • 1
    The nuance is more "become" than "acquire". "I got tired" => "I became tired". It suggests a process over time, rather than a single event.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 19:17
  • 1
    @Andrew - Although "I got arrested" certainly suggests a single event. "Get + past-participle" is actually really tricky to define properly, I'm finding.
    – stangdon
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 21:42
  • 1
    "get" + past participle can express a process or an action in the passive: He got upset (process) when he got arrested (passive).
    – Gustavson
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 1:57

2 Answers 2








  • To get married == [auxiliary verb] + [past participle]

"Get" is used as an auxiliary verb followed by a past participle to form the passive, to get married; to get elected; to get hit by a car. The verb "get" is used an auxiliary verb which compliments "to have become married". The verb get is often used in compliment to express the sentiment "have become, have acquired, have caused" and will take the active "I will be married" and turn it passive "I got or will get married".

Yes, the verb "get" has a fundamental meaning or core meaning of acquisition, however as an aside, I would not apply "prototypical" as this would imply "first example". This example is actually example 23, but that is no more nor less than number 1, there is no precedence. There are many counter examples, see examples 5 and 6 in the dictionary.com definition of get.

share common sense of acquiring some state represented by past participle. Could therefore GET + past participle grammatical construction be explained is an acquisition of state?

Yes. This is exactly the implication. Get married is a passive acquisition of state, as is "get tired". In this context the verb get is commonly used, but to extend further sounds almost clumsy. I would not use "get late" because you do not acquire late, you simply were late. I would use "I was late".

As seen from the dictionary.com definition, "get" or "got" has many connotations and so I would recommend avoiding if possible. "I got tired" sounds almost clumsy, I would use "after staying up late, I felt tired".

As an additional considerations, married as a "participial adjective" is also described below.



Get X'ed can mean

  • you actively did something to become X'ed - I got my car washed at the car wash.


  • something/someone else did something to you, but you could not or intentionally did not resist it. My car got hit when I crossed the intersection. I got 15 dollars from my mom.

So it can mean "to acquire" or "to receive."

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .