Is there any difference between 'got stolen' and 'was stolen'?

  • Welcome to ELL. Would you add some context to the question? That would help people who wants to answer your question. without knowing the context, it is hard to answer a question accurately. – Cardinal Jul 27 '16 at 7:43
  • Do you mean a semantic or grammatical difference? – BillJ Jul 27 '16 at 8:17

The "get" passive is less formal than the "was" passive. It may be discouraged in some forms of writing.

Also the get passive changes the focus slightly. It emphasises the person and the nature or the act. The "was" passive by contrast, implies a neutral stance or distance from the person or the act. The get passive is frequently used for events that are undesirable. The was passive is used in some scientific writing to distance the author from their actions and present a neutral description Eg. "An experiment was performed..."

However these distinctions are subtle. In the example you have given, it would be quite reasonable to say "Jim's car got stolen yesterday" (I want to focus on the loss that Jim has suffered. Or "45 cars were stolen in the town last year" (I want to present a neutral account of a fact)

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