A friend of mine uses "Get It!" (actually, he writes "get it!!!") as an imperative, especially when threatening someone. Ex. If you don't come, I'll beat you up. Get it!

Is it grammatically correct? Does this usage seem natural to native-speakers? Would "Get it?" be more appropriate than "Get it!" in the aforementioned example?

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    Got it? would be quite natural, more than either Get it? or Get it!.
    – Glorfindel
    Dec 27, 2016 at 12:01
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    “Get it?” is what you say when you've just made a pun that you know perfectly well was cringeworthy. “Got it?” is what you say after you threaten someone. Dec 27, 2016 at 12:32
  • @Glorfindel Thanks. What if we had to choose between Get it? and _Get it!? Dec 27, 2016 at 12:33
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    @MariaFernandes It is a question, though a rhetorical one. “Got it” doesn't work as an imperative because it's not an imperative form—it's past tense. “Get it” can be either a question with the subject and auxiliary deleted (“Do you get it?”) or a simple imperative, such as you might say to a dog if you're ordering it to actually go and get something. Dec 27, 2016 at 12:45
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    @MariaFernandes You can use it as an imperative in any sense where it makes logical sense to do so; just make sure an imperative is what you actually want to use. “Get it!” as an imperative would be an order for someone to understand what you're saying already; “Get it?” is a not-very-polite way of checking that they do understand. If I may presume from your name that you are Portuguese, it would be akin to the difference between, “Não preciso das tuas sugestões, percebe-o (já)!” and “Não preciso das tuas sugestões, percebes?”. Dec 27, 2016 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


As others have pointed out in the comments, both "Get it?" and "Got it?" can be used as relatively aggressive synonyms of "Do you understand?" or simply "Understand?":

If you don't shut your mouth, I'll come over there and shut it for you. Get it?

From the comments I gather this isn't as common outside the United States, so I don't know how well it will be understood. Also, as others have mentioned "got it" is more common when threatening, but I've heard both used. "Get it" is more often used to ask if someone understands the joke:

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side! Ha! Get it?

As for "grammatically correct", I expect it's considered a colloquialism and like many other expressions, is more accepted than correct. At the very least it's probably considered an "ellipsis" short for "Do you get/understand it?"

[Edit] Ok so I misread and the question is specifically about using "Get it!" as an imperative, I suppose to mean "You will understand!" Which is certainly unusual, but not ungrammatical. Everyone has their quirks.

  • The question is not regarding the use of "get it" as a synonym of understand. It's whether in the case mentioned in the question, the use of Get it! (or, the variant Got it!) as an imperative, is correct? Dec 27, 2016 at 16:25
  • I'm primarily interested in the correctness of the use of "Get it!" (as an imperative), because "Get it?" seems more common. Dec 27, 2016 at 16:32
  • @MariaFernandes in your example you write it with an exclamation point, so you mean your friend is ordering the person to "get it"? In that case it's an odd use which I've never heard. Otherwise, regardless of punctuation, I'd read it as a forceful question, because that's the familiar use.
    – Andrew
    Dec 27, 2016 at 16:47
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    so you mean your friend is ordering the person to "get it"? Yes, to the point that he puts three exclamation marks as I've already indicated. Thanks. Dec 27, 2016 at 17:43
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    So "Get it!" = "Believe it!"? No not common in my experience
    – Yorik
    Dec 27, 2016 at 19:11

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