Now it is 10 pm and you put your daughter on the bed and tuck her in and you want her to fall asleep quickly.

Now your daughter sit up and talk and play with toys on the bed.

I see this in Oxford dictionary

[intransitive] get to do something to reach the point at which you feel, know, are, etc. something

After a time you get to realize that these things don't matter.

You'll like her once you get to know her.

Can I say to my daughter "quickly get to sleep" or "quickly fall asleep" or "go to sleep" in this situation?

I don 't think "go to bed" is suitable because she is already in bed.

  • To get to do something means to achieve the chance/capability of doing it. To get someone to do something means to persuade / force them to do it. Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 16:25
  • To use an imperative is like giving a direct order or command. These are often used in English to express annoyance/impatience with the situation. Is that what you intend here? If not, then you might want to tone it down a bit - something less direct like "It's time to get/go to sleep now"
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 16:45
  • 2
    I finally got to sleep means "I managed to fall asleep, but later than I had intended" (because you weren't sleepy or because some kind of noise was keeping you awake). If you want someone else to compose themself for sleep you would tell them to go to sleep. Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 17:22
  • You could say "settle down" to her. Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 17:34
  • You can tell an older child you no longer tuck in, "Get to bed! It's a school night." It means, "stop horsing around and go to bed, there's school tomorrow" or "enough TV|video games|whatever, go to bed". Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 12:59

1 Answer 1


You are right that if she’s already in bed, then Go to bed would not be appropriate. And Get to sleep, with or without quickly, would be somewhat odd since falling asleep is at least partially beyond one’s intentional control. The idiomatic way to express your meaning would be to say to her, “Go to sleep.”

To my ear, the difference between get and go is this: One gets to sleep exactly at the moment at which one passes out of wakefulness and into sleep. That’s why instructing someone to get to sleep can sound a bit strange—something like, “Are you ready? Here we go… three, two, one, be asleep!” By contrast, one’s going to sleep is not instantaneous, but a process, a phase of gradual transition, sometimes lengthy and sometimes brief. So the instruction to go to sleep amounts to telling someone to engage in that process, to undertake the gradual transition. And that instruction seems more reasonable (because under the other person’s control).

I’d add, perhaps confusing matters, that Get to bed is entirely idiomatic, though not applicable in your scenario. Being on or in bed is a state that can be reached essentially in an instant, and entirely at will.

  • There is a song saying "Now close your eyes and go to sleep. Goodnight. Sleep tight. Sweet dreams tonight"
    – Tom
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 1:22
  • @Paul Tanenbaum When answering the question "Where do you sleep?", one can say: "I sleep on the couch (or on the floor)", using the definite article in its generic sense (as far as I am figuring it out). Would it be correct to answer: "I sleep in the bed", where "the" is conveying its generic sense, like in "The apple is salubrious to your health"? Thank you.
    – Eugene
    Commented Jul 12 at 9:48
  • @Eugene, in your example, either using or omitting the the would be fine. And btw, with regard to salubriousness, a much more idiomatic way to express the thought is with the subject Apples [are]. Commented Jul 12 at 12:31
  • @Paul Tanenbaum Thank you for having heeded my question! Is the generic "the" (which seems utmostly logical to me) still in use or is it giving ground to "a"? (of course, there is a slew of cases akin where "a" is to be applied: "What is he doing?-Don't you see? He is sleeping in a bed".)
    – Eugene
    Commented Jul 12 at 14:21

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