I can't tell what the difference is between the following two sentences:

  1. I need to get that figured out.
  2. I need to figure that out.

I heard the first sentence from my friend and he is a native English speaker.

But for me, an English learner, if I want to express the same meaning, I would say it like the second one.

I know the "get" in the first sentence means changing one status into another one.

So it means making that thing be figured out.

However, I think the meaning is the same as the second one.

Could anyone tell me what the difference between them?

  • There's very little difference between them.
    – Barmar
    Jan 1, 2016 at 3:02

1 Answer 1


From my American English perspective:

  1. "I need to get that figured out" includes the possibility of somebody else figuring it out, and telling the answer to you.

  2. "I need to figure that out" means you will probably figure it out by yourself.

Consider 'to have something done'.

  • Thank you Ganymede! It makes sense. And I usually heard people say "Let's get it started" Does the rule also work on this sentence? It means that let us find somebody to start it. and "Let's start it" means we start it together. Is it correct?
    – Andy Lu
    Jan 4, 2016 at 10:12
  • "Let's..." is used to propose an idea or 'a suggestion for us all to do'. So that kind of statement is in a different category.
    – Ganymede
    Jan 4, 2016 at 10:21

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