Please clarify the exact meaning of "get to" in the quote below.

All good-hearted souls get to pass through

There is a bubble shield approaching them that he is afraid he would not be able to pass through it so he ask the good witch about it and she says that in answer to him.

Thanks in advance.

3 Answers 3


The meaning of

All good-hearted souls get to pass through


All good-hearted souls are allowed to pass through

See sense 14 at Wiktionary's page for the verb get:

(intransitive, followed by infinitive) To be able, permitted (to do something); to have the opportunity (to do something).

I'm so jealous that you got to see them perform live!

The finders get to keep 80 percent of the treasure.

The to here is part of the infinitive form of the verb to pass.


I am expanding on the answer provided by CopperKettle, well as CopperKEttle mentioned,

get to can mean allowed to

there is another way you can look at it, Let me try to explain it with a few examples

1) If you win the lucky draw, you get to go on a cruise to Hawaii
2) If you join our group, you get to enjoy the weekend in a cabin by the lake.
3) You get to eat dinner only after you finish the homework
4) You get to vote once you turn 18

In sentences 1) and 2) get to means that you have been "provided with an opportunity", in sentences 3) and 4) get to means you are "allowed to".

So in the sentence under question "All good-hearted souls get to pass through"

get to can mean

1) All good-hearted souls are allowed to (get to) pass through - in this context, you want to do something and you are given permission to do that

2) All good-hearted souls get the opportunity to (get to) pass through - in this context, you are presented with the opportunity, you can decide to take it or leave it.

So next time when you come across "get to", well you get to decide what it means.

  • 1
    All who expand on my answers get my respect, Nandagopal! (0: Just a little cavil: I believe only the word 'get' should be highlighted, because 'to' is part of the verb following it. Like in the sentence "all good kids get a present on Christmas" we would highlight 'get', not 'get a' or 'get on', lest the learner be confused. (0: Feb 21, 2014 at 9:55
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    @CopperKettle Got it, you are spot on.
    Feb 21, 2014 at 10:07
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    @CopperKettle Thank you very much. I was going to ask the same thing. Thank you NANDAGOPAL for the details.
    – user3214
    Feb 21, 2014 at 10:13
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    You are get to vote once you turn 18 - this doesn't feel like proper English; the are should not be there!
    – ANeves
    Feb 21, 2014 at 14:11
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    @ANeves cheers mate, sorry, i forgot to edit it out, It is a mistake and I will correct it at once, but it was unintentional, typed it in a hurry, embarrassing mistake though.
    Feb 21, 2014 at 14:33

The difference between “get to” and “have to” tasks all has to do with motivation. “Get to” tasks are reinforcing in and of themselves. They’re enjoyable, which is why we look forward to them. “Have to” tasks, on the other hand, are reinforcing only in the sense of relief we feel when they’re done. Finishing a “have to” task feels good, because there’s a sense of completeness. Until the “have to” task has been finished, it looms over our head.

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    This is generally true. "get to" = "allowed to" which means permission. Sometimes we feel obligated to ask for permission to do or have things we desire. But often they can be used in the opposite for toughness ("Private! You get to clean the latrines!") for sarcasm ("Yay. I get to wash all these dishes while you guys go have fun.") or humor (Father playing with son: "Now Johnny, you have to eat this cake. I know you don't want to.") Also, "have to" can indicate an extreme desire, as if it was to the point of obligation: "I just have to buy this dress... it's so darling!" Feb 21, 2014 at 16:03

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