Scenario: Two people are in trouble conflict with each other. One day, one of them says,

"It's time (for us to stop this.)"

And the other says,

Why should you get to choose when to call time on the conflict between us?

Here, if I omit "get to", will the meaning change or the sentence become unnatural?

  • @CowperKettle, thank you, I just want the exact meaning of "get to" here. Aug 11, 2019 at 10:05
  • 2
    The idiomatic usage to get to [do something] strongly implies a positive achievement / lucky accident. Including it in the cited context amplifies the implication that someone will "win" the desirable state of being able to make the relevant choice (and speaker is effectively complaining that he has as much right to do that as the other person). If it's not included, that same meaning might apply, but in that case the speaker might simply be asking a simple literal question with no implication of Maybe it should be me who chooses, not you. Aug 11, 2019 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


Consider these two examples...

1: I never choose a starter in my local restaurant. I always have the "soup of the day"
2: I never get to choose a starter in my local restaurant. I always have the "soup of the day"

The context of #1 strongly implies that I could choose some other starter dish from the menu - I just don't want to exercise my right to make a choice.

But #2 strongly implies I don't have a choice. Feasibly the restaurant doesn't offer a choice of starter, but more likely it's because I only go to the restaurant with my wife, say, and she always insists on making that choice for me. Whatever the reason though, the strong implication is that I would like to be able to choose for myself, but I can't.

In general, to get to [do X] implies that doing (or having the opportunity to do) X is desirable. Which is usually the case with something like "choosing / having a choice" - but as my example above shows, there can be contexts where someone doesn't care whether or not they have a choice. In which case they wouldn't refer to the situation in terms of getting to choose.

In OP's cited context, including get to unambiguously conveys that the speaker would like to have a choice. He's effectively saying Why shouldn't I choose, rather than you? If it's not included, that implication could still be contextually relevant, but feasibly the speaker isn't thinking that he should have the choice.

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