I thought I was supposed to.
He was served.

The above two sentences are correct . Please explain me why the below sentence is wrong.

What was happened to him?

  • 3
    1:yes 2:no 3:no
    – Kevin
    May 7, 2013 at 17:26
  • Proofreading is off-topic for ELL. Please see: ell.stackexchange.com/faq
    – Matt
    May 7, 2013 at 19:06
  • 2
    @Matt♦: I don't see this one as "proofreading". OP has presented three different contexts where he isn't sure whether "was" is appropriate or not. And the third is certainly "interesting", in that it would be perfectly valid with either "got" or "was". I can see how these little "helper" verbs might be tricky for non-native speakers. May 7, 2013 at 22:12
  • @Matt It is true that the OP doesn't explain why he is unsure about using was. Probably this could be considered a proofreading question where the OP shows the alternative he thought of.
    – apaderno
    May 8, 2013 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


I thought I was supposed to

When did you think that. Did you think that, for example, yesterday? If so, it is correct. If you thought about it just now, you would say "I think I am supposed to".

I thought I supposed to

This should be "I thought I am supposed to" or "I thought I was supposed to".

What happened to him? - correct

What was happened to him? - incorrect. This should be "What has happened to him".

He got served - this is correct but 'ugly'. It needs some kind of qualification such as "He got served very quickly even though there was a long queue"

He was got served - He was served is correct and so is he got served but not was and got together.

Hils in en-GB

  • Since about a century ago, he got angry has been more common than he became angry. And I can't see any reason why OP's he got served should be any different. It's not "ugly", and certainly doesn't "need" any kind of qualification to be acceptable - it's normal (if somewhat "informal") phrasing today. May 7, 2013 at 22:21
  • I though I am supposed to sounds mixed up to me. I think it is supposed to be "I think I am supposed to"
    – Jim
    May 8, 2013 at 4:14
  • @FumbleFingers I think another problem with "he got served" is actually that in modern times it has taken on a new colloquial meaning (or "street vernacular") which is to be suddenly beaten or shown up in some type of competition. "He got served papers" or "you have been served" or "he has been served" all are free of any such accidental collision of meaning.
    – BrianH
    May 8, 2013 at 16:43
  • @BrianDHall: I think the specific main verb served is pretty irrelevant here. The real issue is whether it's okay to use got instead of was for the "helper" verb (possibly not, for older and/or more pernickety speakers). Plus what I consider Hil's spurious assertion that got only works with "some kind of qualification". May 8, 2013 at 17:06
  • @FumbleFingers Yes, I do see your point there, and I understand the disagreement relating to the use of 'got' itself. I think Hils only meant that it needed further qualification in this particular instance, not necessarily that 'got' strictly requires qualification generally - but only I'll leave that to them to clarify. I simply thought it relevant to add why, in this particular instance, "he got server" might be considered 'ugly' or of low station.
    – BrianH
    May 8, 2013 at 17:24

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