You gotta be very angry.

From an American movie.

My intuation is that is to say you are really very angry or it seems you are angry.

Why the guy used gotta here. gotta implies force, like saying you have to be very angry that means ** you do not have any other choices**

I have my doubts if the speaker ment something like that!

  • 4
    'Have got to' has both the meanings you mention (as does 'must'): You must / gotta try harder, Joe! // You must / You've got to feel devastated, your team being beaten 7 - 0. >> I assume 'gotta' can be used in place of 'have got to' in both senses; it's uncommon here in Britain. May 3, 2014 at 9:12
  • 2
    @Edwin, absolutely it can. The most common expression I can think of where gotta is used in this sense is, “Oooh, that's gotta hurt/sting/burn/etc.”. May 3, 2014 at 10:41

3 Answers 3


Just like must, gotta (and longer forms, such as have got to) may be used in an epistemic sense relating to logical inference:

You gotta be angry =
I infer [perhaps from your demeanour or intonation or from your foregoing narrative—this is not specified], with a high degree of certainty, that you are angry.

It is not the addressee who is “compelled” to suffer the passion described but the the speaker who is “compelled” to draw this conclusion.

  • Yes, it's interesting to consider how other modals pattern in this sentence: You hafta be angry, You must be angry, You should be angry, You oughta be angry are usable in different situations, with different inferences about how the conclusion was reached by the speaker. Jan 30, 2015 at 17:21

It's hard to say without more context, but I read that as:

You would have to be very angry [... to do something only an angry person would do].

So, rather than forcing or commanding, the speaker is speculating about the subject's mind-state.

If the full context is something like:

A: They blew up Bob's house!

B: You gotta be very angry to do something like that.

Then rendering the sentence in more formal English would produce something like:

B: You would have to be very angry to do something like that.

(This is paraphrasing, as StoneyB points out. It's not the only interpretation that makes sense, by any means.)

  • Good call, you're right. Adjusted to make that clearer,.
    – Beejamin
    May 4, 2014 at 23:49

Since you use the word "correct" in your title we do need to say that "gotta" is not "correct" English in any context. The "correct" English expression is "have got to".

  • 1
    You gotta is entirely "correct" in US colloquial registers, and the spelling is a "standard" symbolization of colloquial speech. May 3, 2014 at 14:59
  • We could debate what, if anything, “correct” means with regard to language. As I said, it is not I who brought up the question of correctness.
    – fdb
    May 3, 2014 at 17:45

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