I'd like to know if anyone feels a difference between "Let's get started!" and "Let's get going!". Both seem to mean about the same.

It is also interesting to notice that there seems to be an equivalence in meaning between "started", which is a past participle, and "going", which is not a past participle. It's rather odd, isn't it?

What is "going" in "Let's start going?", a gerund? Why call it a gerund?

Whatever, part of the answer may lie in the fact that if you're going somewhere, you've already started a trip, so there should be a connection between "started" and "going" on a lexical point of view as well as a grammatical point of view.

What do you think? Can anyone come up with an explanation or shed a little light on these issues?


  • Not closely, but related question, Confused about tense usage.
    – user140086
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 9:05
  • 1
    "Let's get started" implies that nothing (much) has been done so far. "Let's get going" may imply that, eg, the past three hours were spent loading up the car, and now actual (or figurative) motion is about to begin. They mean about the same thing, but not exactly.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 13:36

3 Answers 3


It seems that the similarity of your two phrases hinges on the choice of what my grade-school English teacher called "the vulgar verb", namely get. Thus the crux of what's being said is much the same, because the principal verb in each sentence is one and the same, calling simply for a change of state. However, "go" and "start" are neither synonymous nor interchangeable. Each of these verbs carries its own particular nuance, which is to say that there is clearly a difference between "Let's start" and "Let's go" and that it is ultimately this difference that colors one's understanding of "Let's get started" and "Let's get going."

For example, in the context of beginning a game of cards, "Let's start" sounds natural enough but "Let's go" begins to sound impatient. Now consider "I must (have to) go" versus "I must (have to) be going" and you begin to see the effect of the present participle's use, with "going" suggesting that I should have left already. Similarly, "Let's get going" suggest that time is a-wasting, while "Let's get started" does not.


I think that if you were talking about starting a piece of work, or an activity, you could use either. If you were talking about actually going somewhere, ie beginning a journey, saying "Let's get started!" would seem out of place.

In both cases, the word (started/going) is the sense of being in a particular state (i'm not sure what the formal word for this is). Both words can be used in different senses, but in this case, it's the same: the subject wants to move into a state of being, in which they could be described as "started" or "going".

Think of saying "Let's get sweaty" for example (i picked this rather unsavoury example because "sweaty" doesn't have any other usage, unlike going/started): you're saying "We should move into the state of being sweaty".

I think the reason that "going" works in both cases, while "started" doesn't, is that a project can be thought of using the metaphor of going on a journey, so "going" can be used even though "started" is more accurate. However, we're not used to thinking of a physical journey using the metaphor of completing a project, and so "started" doesn't seem to fit.


You have rightly observed that 'started' is a past participle and 'going' is not. 'Going' is a present participle. But it is as effective an adjective as is 'started'. But it is not necessary, that a verb has to have its 3rd. form to mean past action.

• Going there, I found him dead.

But that is not the moot issue. In present participle form, they are excellent adjectives.

• Starting point • Going concern

The syntax of the sentence is as such that past participle of 'start' and present participle of 'go' suit the most and they mean the same. I have intentionally used the above adjective phrases to mark the sementic difference so nicely explained by Hot Licks in his comment above.

Simply put, in "Let's start going" , 'going' is a gerund because you are naming an act/action/a prcess through it.

Let me allow to express the subtle difference you are careful about, figuratively. In "Let's get started", the starting point is in view and "Let's get going", you are on the starting point already. Moreover, there is a sense of extra involvement abundantly made clear by the sentence, " Let's start going". Actually, the difference is prominently captured here.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.