I'm not a native speaker, but I found some expression where I couldn't understand the sentence construction.

#1. Can we get started now?

#2. Let's get started.

Can I change get into be in the #1, and is the meaning same? Is it a pseudo-passive?

I wonder why people speak like that instead of Can we start? Is there any difference between them?

In #2, Can I understand the usage as above or below?

We are done talking.

I know it is very common expression, but I can't get the sentence-structure.

  • 1
    It would be very non-idiomatic (probably, ungrammatical*) to use be instead of get in #1. Your example #2 is probably "extra-grammatical". That's to say although it's idiomatically well established, it's probably not actually "grammatically valid" by any normal standards. I definitely don't think #2 would pass muster in any truly "formal" context. May 12, 2022 at 17:03
  • I'd say to be done verbing is "reduced" from to be done / finished with [the activity of] verbing. Note that no-one ever discards preposition with in similar constructions like My boyfriend shouldn't have hit me. I'm done with him now. May 12, 2022 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


This is a "get passive", which is more dynamic than the "be passive".

Compare "get married" (An action you might take on one particular day) with "be married" (A state you might remain in for many years)

Similarly here, you would "get started" as a dynamic action, and no "be started" (which would describe the state)

On the other hand the (somewhat casual) "we are done talking" describes a state, not an action. So the "be passive" is needed.

In other contexts the get passive and the be passive are sometimes equivalent, but not in these contexts.

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