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In such a context as...

I have never applied to job that I cannot do, nor to one that I have not gotten.


I have never applied to job that I cannot do, nor to one that I have not got.

My guess would be the prior, as

I have never applied to job that I have not gotten.

just sounds "better", to me.

I referred to this ultimately-just-confusing-reference - without a clear conclusion as to the correct form. It said...

Gotten is probably the most distinctive of all the AmE/BrE grammatical differences, but British people who try to use it often get it wrong. It is not simply an alternative for have got.

Any help?

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, MetaEd, p.s.w.g, TrevorD, TimLymington Aug 22 '13 at 15:28

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  • 1
    Because there is no "correct form". Which one you use depends on which one you mean, and which dialect of English you speak. Since one of them "sounds good" to you, that's the one you should use. Who did you think decided on which is the "correct form", anyway? The Academy? – John Lawler Aug 21 '13 at 23:08
  • 1
    In American English, if you "have got" a job, you shouldn't need to apply for it since you already have it. – Peter Shor Aug 21 '13 at 23:35
  • @PeterShor That would apply in BrE as well. – TrevorD Aug 22 '13 at 0:20
  • 4
    Both forms sound wrong - dare I say nonsense - to me. I'd say (if it were true!) "I have never applied for job that I cannot do, nor for one that I did not get." – TrevorD Aug 22 '13 at 0:22
  • 2
    @TrevorD: your version is far better than the original, but still not right: it should be ...for a job that I could not do... Until OP understands the principles a little better, answering one question is like fixing one hole in a colander. – TimLymington Aug 22 '13 at 15:32

Part of the problem and confusion is an issue with parallelism. If we add in the implied verb in this fragment:

I have never applied …, nor [have I applied] …

The missing parts, if they are to contain verbs, seem most natural to me in the past tense.

I have never applied to a job I could not do, nor [have I applied] to one I had not got did not get.

Next we need to make the sentence sound less verbose:

I've never applied to a job I could not do, nor to one I didn't get.

There's still room for improvement (e.g. not having three I's, or further changing the verb 'get' to 'receive'), but hopefully this is enough for the question.

edit: changed had not got to did not get

  • 2
    The construction "I have never applied to a job I had not got" is not past tense, it's past perfect. And that sentence makes no sense at all with the past perfect tense. The past perfect tense sets the time frame to before the other verb in the sentence. So if you already had the job, why did you need to apply for it? – Peter Shor Aug 22 '13 at 10:26
  • Yes, had not got (past perfect/pluperfect) was incorrect of me; I meant past, got, or in this case negative form, did not get – icy Aug 22 '13 at 16:59

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