Definition of get started in https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/get%20started

1: to begin doing or working on something

You (had) better get started if you want to finish on time.

My question is: Why we do not say "got" instead of "get"?

  • Why do you think it should be got?
    – pboss3010
    Sep 15 '20 at 12:26

"Got" is past tense. What you have yet to start is not in the past.

If you say, "Let's get started," and you and the other person do indeed start, then you could say that you got started at that point.

  • Let's (let us) is a suggestion that we do something now or in the future, so there is no reason to use the past tense. Sep 15 '20 at 12:53

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, "Let" + object is followed by a bare infinitive. It's difficult to see with most verbs, because the present simple is the same as the infinitive., but look at this example:

Let us be ... which means "leave us alone"

If you were talking about something that happened in the past, you would use simple past:

We got started at about 9:30.

but you cannot use let about something that happened in the past.


The verb phrase "get started":
Merriam-Webster "get started"

Definition of get started

1 : to begin doing or working on something

You (had) better get started if you want to finish on time.

2 : to begin an important period in one's life or career

newlyweds who are just getting started on their lives together.

The form "get started" has the bare form of the verb "get", used for present tense and as a bare infinitive (without "to").

The verb "let's" is a contraction of "let us". In this sense, the verb "let" is followed by a bare infinitive form, which is "get started".

The form "got started" is the past tense, a conjugated form, not the infinitive, so it is not used with "let".

Other examples of "let" followed by a bare infinitive:

  • Let's go.
  • Let him go.
  • Let me be.
  • Let her speak.

“Let us do” (or “let’s do”) is the first-person plural present imperative tense of “to do”. The future imperative is “we shall do”. There is no past imperative because that makes no sense.

“to get started” as a phrase can be put into any tense by inflecting “to get” normally:

  • I get started.
  • I am getting started.
  • I got started.
  • I have gotten started.
  • I have been getting started.
  • I had gotten started.
  • I had been getting started.
  • I will get started.
  • I will be getting started.
  • etc.

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