The get-passive

The get-passive

The verb get is sometimes used as an auxiliary in place of be in passive sentences. The verb string for a sentence like:

My bicycle got stolen is past + get + en + steal


My bicycle was stolen with past + be + en + steal

The get-passive is normally fairly informal and more likely to occur in casual conversation and informal sorts of writing than in formal writing. It is often used in agentless passives.

Like be, get also functions as a linking verb. You can distinguish sentences with get as linking verb from sentences with get-passives by considering the verb string.

Note that this sentence has an active counterpart:

The long hike tired Sam out.

Compare with get as linking verb:

Note that this sentence can also be paraphrased by another sentence with a linking verb:

Sam became tired.

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Comments to: Sara Kimball
Last updated January, 2001