I texted one of my friends following:

Your transaction got canceled.

He replied saying that it should have been get canceled.

So what is the correct form? If my version was wrong, please let me know how such sentences should be written.


Your friend is incorrect.

First, passive constructions of a verb are formed with the appropriate inflection of a modal and the past participle of the verb. Consequently, if you wanted to use the simple present and "get" instead of "be" as the modal, the properly inflected form of "get" would be "gets."

Second, if what you wanted to say was merely that a single transaction was cancelled in the past, the proper tense would be the past tense. Using "get" as the modal, the way to make a passive past tense is to use the past tense of "get," which is "got," plus the past participle. So if that was what you meant, your sentence grammatically conveyed that meaning.

Third, using "get" as the modal for passives is informal and colloquial. The standard modal is some form of "be."

  • My understanding is that "get" is a semi-copula, not a modal verb. – Acccumulation Jan 9 '18 at 18:28
  • 2
    @Accumulation "He was granted a doctorate by Harvard" versus ""He got granted a doctorate by Harvard." I do not see any difference in meaning. I do not see any functional difference between between "was" and "got." Whether we distinguish between modals, auxiliaries, semi-copulas or not and how we distinguish them seem irrelevant to the question asked. – Jeff Morrow Jan 9 '18 at 18:40
  • 'He was / became / got cold' are very different constructions from 'He was / got killed', and should not be conflated. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 9 '18 at 20:26

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