I saw a song of Eric Clapton in which he says "Why Has Love Got To Be So Sad". This kind of structure is a little difficult to me to understand as an non native English speaker. In the simple interpretation of words, does it mean (in other words) to ask "Why love happens to be so sad?" or "Why love has to be so sad"?


Edited:

  1. Well, I knew what it means "I have got to do sth", but in this case the structure of "whay has love got..." is the difficult thing. I'd expect him to say "has got love to" if he wants to say "why love must be so sad".

  2. By the comments here I saw that there are another version (that seems to be the original one) for the lyrics: "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad", and for this version is even more not understood, since after an interrogative sentence in present simple tense should come infinitive ("Why does love get to be so sad") rather than past form (got).

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    The words Why love happens to be so sad and Why love has to be so sad are not questions. They're just noun phrases syntactically equivalent to He told me the answer (or, for example, He told me why love has to be so sad. – FumbleFingers Oct 12 at 14:13
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    FWIW the song is actually "Why does love got to be so sad", not "has". – hobbs Oct 12 at 15:42
  • To back up @hobbs, it's even right there in the video title and description. Honestly not sure where the "has" comes from. – jpmc26 Oct 12 at 18:21

The best way to interpret this is to assume that have got to means must. So this means

Why must love be so sad?


Note that in both of the suggestions you offered, you have forgotten to do the subject-auxiliary inversion that is required to make a question. Neither sentence has an auxiliary, so you must add one - does.

Love happens to be so sad. - statement
Love [does] happen to be so sad. - statement
Why does love happen to be so sad? - question

Love has to be so sad. - statement
Love [does] have to be so sad. - statement
Why does love have to be so sad? - statement

Why Has Love Got To Be So Sad

What couldn't be so easy to you understand is the usage of have got to.

When you use have got to, you're saying that something is necessary or must happen in the way stated in the sentence.

In the question, Eric Clapton is wondering, in other terms: Why must love be so sad?

UPDATE

  • Well, I knew what it means "I have got to do sth", but in this case the structure of "whay has love got..." is the difficult thing. I'd expect to say "has got love to"

The structure of Why Has Love Got To Be So Sad is completely fine, because it's a question. For this reason, have and the subject (love) change position: Why has (1st part of have got to) love (subject) got to (2nd part of have got to) be so sad? Another example is here (question form part).

  • By the comments here I saw that there are another version (that seems to be the original one) for the lyrics: "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad", and for this version is even more not understood, since after an interrogative sentence in present simple tense should come infinitive ("Why does love get to be so sad") rather than past form (got).

I think Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad is completely wrong, or at least, I'd say that is something very informal in spoken English (perhaps American English), but it's anyway grammatically incorrect. Take also into account that song lyrics don't always have a 100% grammatically correct English. Some examples here.

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    Clicking the down arrow without giving any explanation is always so helpful... – Alberto Solano Oct 12 at 13:17
  • [not the dv] have got to be is not present perfect and [so easy for you to understand]. Have got is an alternative form of the present tense, used in speaking: to have or to have got. – Lambie Oct 12 at 13:36
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    I'm not the downvoter, and I agree with you that some explanation should be added while downvoting. – not evil nor wicked Oct 12 at 13:39
  • @Lambie Yes, indeed when I first read the sentence I mixed up present perfect with the usage of have got to. When I updated the answer the proper usage of have got to, I forgot to remove indeed that reference. Thanks! – Alberto Solano Oct 12 at 13:44
  • books.google.com/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 12 at 15:22

Why has love got to be so sad?

In English, there are two present forms of the verb have when it means to have an obligation or be necessary (to have to do or be something or to have got to do or be something) or possession or ownership (to have or have got something).

to have to be something can also be said as: to have got to be something.

  • I have got to go now. She has got to be kidding.
  • I have to go now. She has to be kidding.

  • I must go. She must be kidding.

The three sentences above all mean the same thing. What is confusing to ELLers is that the verb have has two forms in the present tense:

To have to be something=To have got to be something.

Why has love got to be so sad? [Third person singular, has got]. This line could have been written in any of the other two ways given above as well.

Please note:

Please note: have got is used in speech, not in writing. Also, I gave have/has got to be kidding because in English there is often another verb after have/has got/must.

After seeing the edited question: \ Why does love got to be so sad.

Something has got to be [something]. Meaning: have to be.

Why has something got to be so sad? In colloquial AmE,they make that:

Why does something got to be so sad? and mix up the two forms.

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