I would like to learn the appropriate use of 'get, getting and being'.

Such as, what is correct?

Getting messed up.


Being messed up.

Though I have read that "getting" will always be used or appropriate when the object of the sentence will be pointed at ahead.

I would like to learn it properly as it is bugging me a lot.


1) Getting messed up = refers to becoming whatever the condition is (in a bad situation)

to get messed up or getting messed up=slang that means to be drunk, drugged or having some sort of problem about something.

  • Getting messed up is something I try to avoid. [getting messed up=subject of the sentence. See being messed up below for more grammar.]

Here, the verb get means become. Become is quite formal and in everyday language get is often substituted for it:

  • He got drunk last night. [rather than became drunk]
  • He got rich last year playing poker. [rather than became]

Get rich, get drunk, get sick, get well [after being sick] are common examples of get + an adjective, to mean: to become rich etc.

2) Being messed up= refers to being in a state or condition

When we take the verb be and make it being + verb or noun, it refers to the subject of a sentence.

  • Being messed up is not fun. being messed up = the subject of the sentence and the state in which the person is in. It is called a gerund noun or gerund phrase. It can also be used as a complement.

  • He didn't like being messed up but he didn't know what to do about it.

  • Being poor is really a terrible thing.

[Note: careful with what adjectives you use with get (become). Not every one works.]

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I'm not sure I'm understanding completely what you're asking. I'll try to answer, but if you could edit your question to bring this into more focus, that would be very helpful. For example, you could write some sentences, maybe in a couple different versions, to show what sorts of things you feel doubtful about.

Here are some good sentences:

  • My outdoor party decorations will get messed up if it rains.

  • Dad, I had a small accident with the car. I didn't notice the red light. I'm sorry I messed up.

  • Look, man, I've just come from a party and I'm not going to be able to drive you to the Emergency Room. I'm really messed up [I'm really drunk/high]. I'm sorry. Let's call an ambulance.

But when you're confused, that's not messing up. So, your title looks strange.

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We use the word get to indicate that something is changing from one state to another.

The weather got colder overnight - the weather changed from warm to cold
Your husband got drunk again - the husband went from from being sober to being drunk

We can use the word be to indicate that something is in a particular state.

The weather is cold
Your husband is drunk

We can also combine be with a past participle to form a sentence in the passive mood:

My car was stolen yesterday

With a passive mood sentence, the person or thing that is doing something is called the agent. The agent can be omitted, or specified in a by- clause.

messed up is a past participle, so it can be used with either be or get.

  • If the change is something that occurs in the natural course of events (for example the weather, or getting older), we would always use get.
  • If the subject of the sentence is also the agent, for example "he got drunk" or "he got her drunk", we would always use get
  • Under other circumstances, where some unspecified agent (even if it is clear from the context) is responsible for the change, for example if your car gets stolen, we could use either be or get, though in most situations we would choose be.
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  • "is got " is wrong in the first two examples in this answer. n fact, I can't think of a standard English construction in whifh it would be correct and natural. -1 – David Siegel Sep 2 '19 at 2:52
  • @DavidSiegel Thank you for pointing that out: I was wondering why I got the other downvote. Whilst writing my answer, I changed the examples from is getting to got, but somehow forgot to remove the is. I have corrected it now. – JavaLatte Sep 3 '19 at 14:43

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