"A little heat might get things cookin'." I heard this in a movie. Is it correct? Shouldn't it be, "A little heat might get things cooked?" What's the difference?

Thank you.


The reason it isn't used in the past participle is that it's an idiomatic usage. It's not literal. It means, "If we put some energy (interest, romance, teasing, or some other kind of stimulation) into this situation, we might generate some kind of reaction that will stir up some movement (progress, interaction, or plot advancement) that should be interesting to see."

In other words, "Let's prod this thing and see what happens."


It's basically the difference between getting started with something and getting finished with it. So,

A little heat might get things cooking (present participle)

means that heat might start the cooking.

A little heat might get things cooked (past participle)

means that heat might finish the cooking process.

  • Shoe, so difference between the two lies in the appropriate time frame, even if one know they want the same action's result? – user19148 Jul 5 '13 at 11:33
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    @Carlo_R, The main verb get can be in any tense that is appropriate to convey the intended meaning: I finally got the essay written. I will have to get the computer working. You use the present or past participle dependent on whether you are focused on starting an action or completing it. If I tell my son: Get reading! I want him to start reading. If I tell him: Get that book read! I want him to finish reading it. – Shoe Jul 5 '13 at 12:36

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