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Should we banish the word 'GOT' ?

edited June 2012 in Writing
'Got' and 'have' are similar in meaning...

I have got a new jumper or I've got a new jumper
I have a new jumper or I've a new jumper

Do we really need the word 'got'?


  • My teachers always said we didn't need it.

    It can mean opposite things - I'll see if I can find what I mean!
  • No joy. Might have been something to do with 'received'.
  • Well, 'gotten' should definitely go in Room 101.
  • I treat 'got' as I would the word 'was' and dump it in the bin at every available opportunity.
  • I have used it in my demoiselle post. Go see. You won't be disappointed.
  • Got and nice should be banished forever.
  • I've used both words in conversation and the written word all my life. I'm not changing for anybody.
  • We shoot protesters!
  • You all need to follow the word 'got' and 'nice' to Room 101 then because you've all used them, more than once, in older posts :D
  • I understand about limiting the use of some words in writing, so they don't appear over used. But stop using them altogether? I don't see the point. :)
  • I think it's a useful word in some circumstances, and is used colloquially with great regularity. What you actually need to do is introduce people to a variety of conversational techniques and a greater vocabulary... which is all about the education system in this country. Teachers no longer have time to correct poorly spoken English.
  • The thing that always narked me at school was teachers saying NEVER use the word 'nice' to describe something...but they were perfectly happy with a student describing EVERYTHING as 'great' or 'fine'. As if the point was to eradicate the word ‘nice’ rather than stop the thoughtless laziness of repeating the same word over and over again.
  • In my experience, I've found some teachers seem to have a bee in their bonnet about a particular word or phrase. One of my secondary school teachers always insisted that you can't start a sentence with the word "because", and yet I've seen it in literally thousands of books, magazines, articles, and so on. This teacher would give a piece of work a zero mark if it had one sentence in it that began with "because". As for "nice", I use the word all the time, and always will.
  • I seem to remember having a teacher who hated 'got' as well. In some contexts it is clumsy and unnecessary, but I hate the idea of banishing any words.
  • If one banishes a word, one replaces it with another, which then falls into the same kind of over-use. Picking on innocent parts of the English language that have been there for centuries is pointless. The average person is far more likely to say, "What have you got there, sonny?" than "What do you have there, sonny?" The latter seems rather stilted, even old fashioned, however correct.

    [quote=Red]I treat 'got' as I would the word 'was' and dump it in the bin at every available opportunity. [/quote]
    Last time I looked, 'was' is the past tense of 'is'. What's wrong with that? "What was, is, and always will be, world without end" - sounds fine to me.
  • To be or not to be?
  • That is the question.
  • What about 'By George, she's got it!' ?

    Would be sad to lose that. (Though was never sure what 'it' was...)

    Btw did anyone notice the Queen in her thank you speech spoke of the 'massive challenge' of organising the events? Seemed all wrong, somehow. Not Queen's English, anyway...
  • Bertiebear, nothing wrong with using was or got, unless you are not really bothered about the standard and quality of the narrative. The overuse of 'Was' tells me everything I need to know about the writer when I am editing their work. It's a giveaway for sloppy, terrible writing.

    I don't advocate banishing words, but rather cutting down on them. Those I have taught to do so are much better writers because of it.
  • Get thee gone!
  • What about a nice distinction?
  • Or a DCM? (Don't Come Monday's)
  • [quote=Red]nothing wrong with using was or got, unless you are not really bothered about the standard and quality of the narrative. The overuse of 'Was' tells me everything I need to know about the writer when I am editing their work.[/quote]

    Overuse is the key word here. I hardly think using the word 'was' (or 'got') means you are producing substandard work.
  • 'Was' is part of the past progressive construction in English (I was writing). Hard not to use it...
  • Progressive = continuous?
  • And we're now on to 'ing'!
  • [quote=Jay Mandal]Or DFC?[/quote]
    I must really be off in the ether somewhere today - I read that as a word (with "-ate" at the end)
    I was go-ing to say, "Okay guys, got it!" but decided to go off and dfct instead.
  • "Was" and "Got" are part of the English language. Everybody uses the words, everyday, in some context or other, whether we like it or not. I understand the thing about overuse in writing, indeed the same would presumably pertain with any word. But I fail to understand how using these words at all constitutes sloppy writing. Also, I hardly think the overuse of "Was" is enough to tell "everything you need to know about the writer". If I ever send my work to someone to read, at whatever stage of the process, and that person tells me that my overuse of "Was" or any other word tells them all they need to know about me, then I will send it to someone else.
  • [quote=Jay Mandal]Progressive = continuous? [/quote]

  • When I read the title of this thread I felt myself physically blush, so I think you'll know my situation with "got" !
    I use it naturally in writing though I then change it to something different or leave it out. As has been said, let's not get rid of words but help each other to use our vocabulary to it's best effect. That's whether we are teaching, learning, editing or just writing/speaking to ourselves.
    All got that ?
  • I think the word "amazing" should be banished to Room 101 too.

    Everybody seems to use it all the time and yet it means nothing.
  • That's amazing, I was thinking the same.

    Let's replace it was fabby. I love fabby things.
  • 'Got' is ok by me - but the Colonial derivative & extension of "gotten" should DEFINITELY be banned!! (Along with "olden" - GAAAAKKKK!!!)
  • edited June 2012
    Gotcha. I've got that loud and clear. I've gotten the idea now of how amazing that the English language was in the olden days, is now, and ever shall be. It's all fabby. ;)
  • GRAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! "Olden"-schmolden!!!! BAN IT!!!!! (Dumb...stoopid.....tripey word....mumble-mumble-grumble.....)
  • [quote=B L Zebub]but the Colonial derivative & extension of "gotten" should DEFINITELY be banned!![/quote] Except in the phrase 'ill gotten gains', I think.

    Got, like any other word, can be over used, but that's no reason to ban it. Phrases such as 'I've got a cold' or 'got it!' or 'I've got Friday off work' wouldn't sound natural without it.
  • Looks like 'banish' was too vehement - maybe we should just use it carefully - I've GOT the message
  • I've got ants in my pants.

    Beat that.
  • [quote=Phots Moll]Phrases such as 'I've got a cold' or 'got it!' or 'I've got Friday off work' wouldn't sound natural without it.[/quote]

    I often say "Ive got Tuesday off." It's perfectly natural to say it that way for me, and no doubt for many others too. If I said "I have Tuesday off," my wife would say "What yer talkin' posh for?" :D
  • It's 'like' misuse that gets me. Listen to any teenager with a seemingly limited vocabulary and every other word is 'like'...
  • I have no idea how, but teenagers can hold whole conversations with the very minimum of words. When our son was 17, the phone rang one day, and it was one of his mates. he began by saying, "Hi," and then proceeded to say "Yeah" or Yep" over and over. After about 10 or a dozen, I started counting, and in the next 20 minutes he said Yeah or Yep a total of 173 times. Those were his only words throughout the entire conversation. After he hung up, he came in the living room, and announced that he was "Going to a gig on Saturday, we just arranged it."
  • I will admit to using bad language when talking and socialising over the internet. I can't help it, my brain works faster than my mouth or hands will allow. Yet when I write, I write properly. I oven get criticised over it, with people stating I'm an English student or a published writer, and they don't understand.

    And I do throw in some more expressive vocabulary when I get into a conversation, otherwise I am guilty of dropping letters, adding 'like' more than I should do. I'm not sure about 'was' or 'got' though.

    To be honest, people are lucky I actually talk to them because I don't like making conversation much.
  • Well now, if you don't like conversation, probably people aren't that lucky you are talking to them - because it always shows.
  • Icon/iconic and kick-start annoy me.
  • I heard a preacher recently constantly use the word 'incrediable' - I felt like screaming at the end of the sermon.

    Another misued word is 'awesome'!
  • edited June 2012
    I cringe every time a so-called celeb speaks, the only words that come out are "it's awesome" and "it's amazing" - it's as though they never get past the letter 'a' when looking for a descriptive word.
  • Good morning Betsie.
  • Actually, all awesomely attractive actors and actresses (and additional associates) automatically attain advanced alphabetical attributes. Any alternative aspersions are awfully antagonistic.
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