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I want to represent a situation in which the character is sad because her boyfriend isn't there, then a guy says: "in any case don't worry, I got you". It is meant to be something like "I will take care of you", but it's also meant to be pretty mischievous, potentially.

  • Is it correct to use "got someone" instead than "take care of someone"? Otherwise, which expression may I use instead?

(The specific scene in which the usage of the verb is involved in this Question is meant to provide a double-faced interpretation of it, in the sense that it should express "taking care of" both in a genuine and in a mischievous sense, for the peculiar situation allows the second character flirting or trying to do that)

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    Possible duplicate of What is the meaning of "I got you"? — although none of the answers there seem to cover this usage. – mattdm Feb 29 '16 at 21:07
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    The implication of the idiom "I've got you", in this sense, is that "I" have somehow been assigned or have accepted responsibility for "you". – Hot Licks Feb 29 '16 at 21:08
  • @HotLicks ok, thanks. Therefore it may imply "I'm here to take care of you", is it right? – franz1 Feb 29 '16 at 21:13
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    @robertalrp - You are correct. Of course, that particular phrase may be said ironically, or with a couple of other meanings, so the implication is not always there. Eg, "I've got you!" may mean "I've captured you". – Hot Licks Feb 29 '16 at 21:16
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    @mattdm: I don't think it's a duplicate. The other question was not specific enough, and as you say, that means that this question is not adequately answered there. – herisson Mar 4 '16 at 21:07
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The first example is somewhat ambiguous and the meaning of 'I got you' depends on context: on the one hand it can mean 'in the absence of your boyfriend, I got you covered' or 'I got your back', as in 'take care of her', while on the other it can also mean 'now he's out of the way, I got you', in a possessive way.

(Update to address additional info provided by OP: when it comes to creating that double effect, the phrase would not change, and the mood would almost entirely be created by the way the character says it, facial expression, direction he's looking in, etc. In writing, adding ellipses, (I got you...) could have the desired result, but it usually requires some sort of introduction of such a character trait to allow the reader some context for the 'suspense' you are adding with the '...').

The short answer to your question is 'Yes, it is correct to use one instead of the other'.
However, 'got someone' and 'take care of someone' can both mean the same thing and something completely different, as the first paragraph already hinted at. For example, 'taking care of someone' hints at a broader care (provide food, shelter, comfort, etc) than 'I got you' typically does.

Depending on the sort of care you will be providing, 'I got you' may not be the best possible wording, contextually speaking.
For example, you would not use it when taking care of someone who cannot take care of themselves, ie. providing some form of medical care. To illustrate how context sensitive these phrases are: is the other person capable of doing something themselves, but it brings them pain, it would be OK to use 'don't worry, I got you', but if it were your grandma instead of your friend, a 'Here, let me do that' would perhaps be a more appropriate response.

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This is the correct use for this expression. (Citation: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=I+got+you, I guess.) However, be aware that it is colloquial — you wouldn't use this formally. Since you say that these are words you're giving to a character, whether or not this would sound right would depend on the character's background and on the particular situation.

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