'get to' means 'have to' or 'have got to'. And I learned that after 'get to', there should be infinitive, but I saw a sentence which is showing 'get to + ~ing' form, so I don't know how to translate it.

Here is the example. (from 'Baker's blue-jay yarn' by Mark Twain)

I've noticed a good deal, and there's no bird, or cow, or anything that uses as good grammar as a blue-jay. You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does - but you let a cat get excited once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you'll hear grammar that will give you the lockjaw.

  • Bear in mind the cited passage is well over a century old (and it was always "folksy dialect" anyway). This figurative use of get to X = reach a point where X occurs is probably always "informal", but it's still current. It's totally separate from the [to have] got to usage implying obligation. Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


Two different meanings of "get to".

We get to see each other only on the weekends.

Circumstances allow us to see each other only on the weekends.

Cats get to pulling fur....

Cats begin to pull fur (i.e. fight) with each other.

"Got to" (not 'get to') means must, to have to.

I've got to take my suit to the cleaners.

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