Someone got full marks in the exam.

Is it possible to change its voice to passive using got as follows?

Full marks were got by someone.

Why or why not?

  • 1
    It's grammatically possible, yes, but rather unlikely.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 14:40
  • 1
    I agree that be sounds odd. A bit better if you use get as the auxiliary. Don't get gotten! Full marks got gotten by Thomas. I would like to think why that is so but it's an interesting question.
    – user31341
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


There's a difference between "past tense" and "past participle". When you're forming the passive voice, you use the past participle.

In British English, the past tense and past participle are the same for "to get".

Full marks were got by someone.

However, in American English, the past participle is "gotten".

Full marks were gotten by someone.

Though this is proper, it still sounds a little awkward. If you insist on using the passive voice, you might use a synonym.

Full marks were achieved by someone.


Full marks were acquired by someone.

  • You learn something new... I never knew that "got" was an acceptable past participle, but I see that you're correct. I'll include it.
    – Paul Rowe
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 15:25
  • Upvote for suggesting better alternatives.
    – user140086
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 15:47
  • Being a Brit we use got as past part. This construction sounds strange however. A better verb would clearly be achieved. I was wondering if a rule means the combination of was/were plus got is not possible.
    – Grale frit
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 21:41
  • @Gralefrit It does sound strange, but it is technically correct. The strangeness is what prompted me to suggest alternatives.
    – Paul Rowe
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 21:52

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