1. I was sick
  2. I got sick

In the first sentence "sick" is used as an adjective, and the sentence is referring a state. But in "I got sick" the sentence is saying you were sick because of something/it shows transition to sick.

Did I understand correctly?

  • 3
    What's the context? It can mean different things.
    – Laurel
    Sep 1, 2022 at 19:15
  • 5
    That's still not enough context. For example, the meaning of "I can't believe that I got sick with two viruses in a row" is different from "Don't go in there — I got sick on the carpet."
    – Laurel
    Sep 1, 2022 at 19:22
  • 1
    Your question has several different answers depending on what you mean. Please edit your question to provide a clear and unambiguous context, including what you mean by "sick". Also, "sick" is not a verb
    – gotube
    Sep 1, 2022 at 19:34
  • 1
    I definitely do not understand what you are asking or why you keep mentioning parts of speech. But let me just observe that we sometimes use the word 'got' in passive constructions (I got invited; I got overlooked; I got photographed) where 'got' is interchangeable with 'was' and the following word is a verb. Although 'got' is also interchangeable with 'was' in these constructions (I got sick; I got cold) they are not grammatically parallel to the first group. Only the first group translate to active constructions (Someone invited me; someone overlooked me; someone photographed me).
    – Chaim
    Sep 1, 2022 at 21:58
  • 2
    Are you intending to use British or American English? In BrE, I was sick commonly means I vomited, though in a business context it could mean I was unwell (I was on sick leave). In AmE, I got sick would mean I became ill (open to correction). Sep 2, 2022 at 7:56

2 Answers 2


Get can be used to form the passive of verbs, and tire is a verb, so in theory got tired could be a passive of tire. But tired is hardly ever used that way : it is almost always an adjective, and so it is here. This is not "passive" get, it is "inchoative" or "transitional" get. "I got tired" means "I became tired".

With sick, sick is not a verb, it is an adjective, so this cannot be passive get. It is again "inchoative" get - I got sick is an informal way of saying I became sick. As far as I can tell, they are identical in meaning.

If instead of sick you name a particular disease, as in I got a cold (past tense of I'm getting a cold), this is another get - literally, to obtain, or acquire something. An alternative in this sense would be I caught a cold. (You can also say I caught cold without an article, but not I got cold in that sense, because the adjective cold would be undersood rather than the noun a cold, and we would be back to the inchoative meaning: I became cold, or I started to feel cold.

  • Do you not think "I have got a cold"/posession (I have a cold) is much better instead of " I got a cold" Sep 1, 2022 at 20:09
  • I think "I got sick" could also be passive, If I interpret "I got sick" as "I was sick" because of something/transition to sick. Sep 1, 2022 at 20:46
  • 1
    @BilalZafarI've edited my answer to clarify that I got a cold was intended to be the simple past of I'm getting a cold. That uses the verb got, past of get, and is a different construction to I have (got) a cold which uses the presnt tense of the verb have or the compound verb have got.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 1, 2022 at 22:01
  • @BilalZafar, I got sick cannot possibly be passive. "Passive" is the name of a construction which transforms a clause with a transitive verb, to raise the direct object to become the subject, eg I ate the cake -> The cake was/got eaten by me. While get can be transitive, and form a passive, eg The cake was got out of the box (AmE gotten), in I got sick, it is not transitive, as sick is an adjectival complement, not a direct object. We can't say *Sick was got(ten) by me which would be the putative pasive form.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 1, 2022 at 22:07

Got is past tense for get. I got sick just means you went through the process of contracting an illness that made you sick.

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