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I was studying causative verbs and I found an interrogative sentence I can't translate into my native language. it's because I don't understand the meaning in/of the English question. this is the question.

You got to go to the basketball game last night?

The source is from the book "complete English Grammar rules" (Peter herring. ©2016. pag.294) I tried to use the google translator but the translation didn't make sense, and I can't figure it out by myself. I know sometimes in colloquial English it's only used "got" as "have got" indicating obligation, but as this is in a grammar book I don't think this is the case. So the questions I have are:

  1. What is the meaning of the question? may you give me an example?
  2. where is the usage of the causative verb there?
  3. why in the book do they enlist the causative verbs (same page) and instead of using "(to) get" in the infinitive form, they used "got" in the past tense?

2 Answers 2

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You got to go to the basketball game last night?

means, roughly:

Were you allowed to go to the basketball game last night?

or

Were you able to go to the basketball game last night?

This is a very informal but currently quite common usage. In this usage "*You got to X?" is used in place of "Did you get to X?" In grammatical form it is statement, not a question. Tone of voice, usage, and context makes it a question.

Other uses of this construction might be:

  • You got to stay out after 10:00 pm on a school night?
  • You got to take teh Honors class? You got to drink wine at home?
  • You got to go to the sold-out concert?

I would not say that "got" is acting as a causative verb in this construction, nor is anything else. These sentences could be rewritten using "allow" which is often but not always a causative verb.

Since I don't have your book's examples to read, I can't say why they use "got" rather than "to get" It may be because the action is in the past.

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In casual English, mainly in American dialects, 'to get to' do something means 'to have the opportunity to', or 'to be able to' do that thing.

I didn't get to go to the game last night because I had to work.

Will you get to go to the game on Saturday?

'Got' is the past tense of 'get'.

A full question might be:

Did you get to go to the game last night?

However, there is a casual way of asking questions, which is to simply make a statement with a rising (questioning) intonation:

You got to go to the game last night? (= Did you get to...?)

We get to choose beer or wine with our meal? (= Do we get to...?)

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  • That is really useful, now I understand the meaning of the question. But then, now I have a remaining question. I would like to know if there is a relation in this structure "to get to do something ≈ to have an opportunity/be able to" with the causative verbs. why this example was in a list of causative verbs examples? does it make sense for that sentence to be within an example list of causative verbs? Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 20:07
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    @OrlandoLazos - only one question at a time. Ask a fresh question about that. Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 20:11

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