1

Help me to understand the following sentence:

I heard it in the movie, but not sure about whether I heard that correctly.

This is gotta be the worst job in the world.

The context is when someone has to clean a house and duirng that they are grumbling that sentence.

  • 1
    It means he believes there is no job in the entire world which is worse than, or even as bad as, cleaning that house. – Dan Bron Mar 1 '15 at 18:15
  • 5
    Seems very straight forward. What did you think it might mean? It would be better written as "This has got to be the worst job in the world." – CRABOLO Mar 1 '15 at 18:22
  • @DanBron I didn't get why the word gotta was used? I thought gotta is ususally used as a slang equivalent of going to have to or have got which have obbligation meaning. – Dmitrii Bundin Mar 1 '15 at 18:49
  • 6
    What you heard as "This is gotta" is the ordinary pronunciation for practically everybody of "This has got to". The 'obligation' here is inferential necessity: This must be. – StoneyB Mar 1 '15 at 19:38
  • @DmitryFucintv 'Got' is often used in place of 'have' in some tenses, so 'gotta' could replace 'have to', but not after "going to". Nobody says "going to got to" instead of "going to have to". "going to have to" would probably come out as "gonna havta", rather than as "gotta". Ex: "I gotta shower" = "I have to shower (now)." "I'm gonna havta shower" = "I am going to have to shower (later)" – DCShannon Mar 2 '15 at 3:45
21

The example quote sounds like "This's gotta be the worst job in the world." which is short for "This has got to be the worst job in the world."

"This is gotta be the worst job in the world." is grammatically incorrect. I assume it is an incorrect transcription.

"This's gotta be the worst job in the world." and "This has gotta be the worst job in the world." are very informal. "Gotta" is not acceptable in formal written text, but is common in informal speech.

"This has got to be the worst job in the world." is emphatic in an informal context. It is marginally acceptable in formal contexts.

"This has to be the worst job in the world." is formal. People who say "gotta" consider "gotta" to be more natural than this expression.

"This must be the worst job in the world" is formal. To my (American) ear, it sounds less natural than "This has to be the worst job in the world" or "This has gotta be the worst job in the world."

"This is the worst job in the world." is formal, and acceptable in informal speech. Unfortunately, it does not give the same impression as the other forms do. (The other forms suggest that the speaker has tried to imagine worse jobs, and failed.)

  • 5
    +1 for "has tried to imagine worse jobs, and failed" – Jim Mar 1 '15 at 19:52
  • That's in fact he said This has gotta be the worst job in the world. But we can't use the word gotta in a formal writing. We should use got to instead, but this refers to informal context. Correct? – Dmitrii Bundin Mar 2 '15 at 5:06
  • 1
    "has got to be" is, I believe, OK in British, but in AmE, the preferred written form is "has to be" – Brian Hitchcock Mar 2 '15 at 6:00
  • @DmitryFucintv -- If you are writing a story with dialog, and you want a speaker to look rustic or foolish, you can transcribe "gotta" and "goin'" and "cain't" accurately. But most writing "takes the liberty" of pretending that the speaker said "got to" and "going" and "can't" or "cannot". Thus, most informal writing uses "got to", not "gotta". – Jasper Mar 2 '15 at 6:57
17

"This has" can be spoken with an "unstressed has as /ᵻz/", making it sound to an L2 learner like "This is" (but not as clear--more ambiguous). (Credit @StoneyB) Here's a breakdown of the original sentence:

  • This /ᵻz/ gotta be the worst job in the world. (Most informal.)
    This /ᵻz/ got to be the worst job in the world.
    This has got to be the worst job in the world. (Informal)
    This must be the worst job in the world. (Formal.)

Note that word assimilations like gotta are very common among native speakers speech. See “gotta”, “wanna” or “gonna” in English? and Google Ngram: gotta, wanna, gonna.

  • 3
    +1 for the derivation. But a) I think it's ordinary colloquial register, not slang, and b) I think the is is OP's mishearing of the ordinary pronunciation of unstressed has as /ᵻz/. – StoneyB Mar 1 '15 at 19:35
  • 2
    @StoneyB: since Americans often pronounce unstressed has almost exactly like is, I wouldn't even say the OP has misheard. – Peter Shor Mar 1 '15 at 19:46
  • 3
    @PeterShor- Agree- more like misinterpreted – Jim Mar 1 '15 at 19:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.