2

This sentence is from a program about how various cancer patients have been feeling since their diagnosis:

"I haven't got to be bored." Cancer patients (see:43:40-43:44)

I think she means something like "I have to be happy all the time. I can't stand being bored. I have not to be bored. I must not let myself be bored. Nobody should make me feel bored", but this is the first time I have seen "have got to" used this way.

Is this usage an idiomatic way to say it?

Or should we simply say "I mustn't be bored." meaning "I must avoid being bored?" as in the case of "I mustn't eat too much fat because I can't stand seeing myself fat in the mirror"?

2 Answers 2

1

I put this in a comment, but since it's at odds with the only upvotable answer, I think I should actually post it.

I've just listened to the utterance in context. I think you can tell from the preceding emphatic...

"It was never, ever boring!"

...that when she says...

"I haven't got to be bored!"

...immediately followed by a slight chuckle, what she means is...

"Which was really good, because I would hate to be bored!
I must never be bored!"

I'm quite prepared to believe that some if not all of the reason for that chuckle is that even as she speaks, she realizes her phrasing is clunky. But let's face it, "I mustn't be bored!" would be even clunkier! More "natural" phrasing might be...

It was never, ever boring! Lucky for me, because...
...I can't stand being bored!
...I hate to be bored!
...I can't be doing with boredom!

0

To save others the trouble, this is a British speaker saying, "It was a great life. It was all fun. It was never, ever boring. And that's the whole thing for me—I haven't got to be bored. [Small laugh]"

This isn't a special idiom, and your guess is a miss. "Haven't got to" is, as usual, equivalent to "don't need to". She's just saying she isn't bored; she doesn't suffer the burden of "having to be" bored.

As others point out, another reading is that "got" is the past participle ("gotten" in AmE), so she's saying she "didn't get to" be bored, i.e. didn't have the chance. The meaning is the same.

7
  • 1
    I haven't actually heard it, but it looks like just a slightly clunky alternative to I never got to be bored / I was never bored. Commented Feb 5 at 20:45
  • 2
    Agree with @FumbleFingers, it's possible they're referring to an opportunity rather than an obligation. Consider "I haven't got to go the beach yet this summer" (I haven't had the the opportunity) versus "I haven't got to go to school this summer" (I don't need to). In the context of discussing their past, the speaker may be saying they've never had a chance to be bored, instead of saying they don't have to be bored in the present/future. I might prefer "gotten" in that case, but it's a spoken quote. Commented Feb 5 at 21:07
  • 1
    @NuclearHoagie - but "gotten" is generally not used in southern England (where the lady is from). I can't tell exactly where she's from but somewhere in the South East. In standard Br.Eng it's considered non-standard/regional/even archaic. You can still hear "gotten" used in some other parts of the UK, though.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Feb 5 at 22:59
  • 2
    And @yunus in case it isn't clear: this has nothing to do with "got to" meaning "must" Commented Feb 5 at 23:13
  • Actually, I've just listened to it. I think you can tell from the full context that when she says "I haven't got to be bored!" immediately after emphatic "It was never, ever boring!" she really does mean "Which was really good, because I would hate to be bored! I must never be bored!". But I'm quite prepared to believe the slight chuckle as she says "I haven't got to be bored!" is at least partly because even as she speaks, she realizes her phrasing is clunky. But let's face it, "I mustn't be bored!" would be even clunkier! "I can't stand being bored!" works. Commented Feb 5 at 23:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .