Is there anything odd about the following sentence?

'It seems to have got colder.'

I am not a native English speaker. I came across this sentence in a book (Orwell's 1984) recently and am not able to wrap my head around it. I'm probably wrong but it sounded odd to me. Is this usage of 'have got' still common ? If not, how would you rephrase it? Please explain.

1 Answer 1


Yes, there is a common usage in English where the verb 'to get' means 'to become'. It is used in less formal English.

See definition 17a in Merriam and Websters Learner's dictionary:

a [linking verb] : become 1

  • My hands got dirty when I was working in the garden.
  • I get very nervous when I have to speak in public.
  • I got sick last week but I'm feeling better now etc. [more examples follow].


There's also a good explanation for it on this English language learning website:

  • Thank you, but I'm aware of that. Perhaps I hadn't made myself clear earlier. What I meant was that that particular usage sounded a bit unusual to me, unlike the examples you have quoted. Doesn't 'It seems to have gotten colder' sound better ?
    – user33950
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 10:48
  • Ah, sorry, I misunderstood the question. I'm a British English speaker and the example you give is exactly how I would say it so I would imagine it is because Orwell was British. I think American speakers would be more inclined to say 'gotten'.
    – rhm
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 10:52
  • 5
    That's correct. American English uses gotten as the past participle of get in all its senses except actual possession, where got is used, as in the UK. Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 13:56
  • 1
    @JohnLawler's comment is the answer.
    – Drew
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 14:55

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