I read this sentence:

I'm glad I got to know her.

"Got" can be used like permission, like "I was allowed/able to", but it can also be used like the ongoing status of something, as in

When I got to this point in my life…

Which is it in this case?

  • 2
    What exactly is the difference between the two meanings in this case? I don't see the distinction here. – Peter Shor Apr 25 '13 at 14:57
  • There is a distinction to me, I thought I made it clear, sorry. I'll try again: I got to go to the park. I got to the park. These are two very different sentiments in my mind, are they not in yours? – user43217 Apr 25 '13 at 14:59
  • The distinction is essentially modal. One sense is that of 'being allowed to' ('allowed' at least by circumstances, if not by official permission). The other is get as the inchoative of be, i.e, 'come to be' or become; that's the sense behind when I got to that point. – John Lawler Apr 25 '13 at 15:25
  • @ user43217: That "obligation" sense is a third meaning to "got", which is usually part of the "phrasal verb" to have got to. It's generally considered "sub-standard" to omit "have", so in you example, you could grammatically (if somewhat awkwardly) say "I'm glad I have got to get to know her" (meaning I'm glad I'm obliged to get to know her). – FumbleFingers Apr 25 '13 at 15:26

Without more context it's impossible to say exactly what nuance is intended in OP's example.

To get to [do something] can mean have the chance to do it.

To get to know someone/something can mean become [very well] acquainted with them/it.

So OP might mean he's glad he came to know her [well], or glad he had the chance to know her.

You might think it's stylistically awkward to use both senses consecutively, but there's nothing grammatically incorrect about...

The NAFEC duty was boring most of the time, but gave me a good chance to get to get acquainted with the crews.

There are many other meanings for to get, including have got to = must, should, are obliged to...

"I've got to get to know her"" (I'm compelled, or I really want to get to know her).

...and to get = become, arrive at a point where, reach a state of...

...he saw more and more of her every day, until he got to be restless and nervous when he was not with her.


It's a third sense, one of enjoying an opportunity or ability for something-- the third intransitive sense, according to Merriam-Webster, out of at least 19:

3 a : to be able [never got to go to college]

  • Yes, that's the modal sense. – John Lawler Apr 25 '13 at 15:26

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