1. When we say "The glass was broken" it means when we looked at it, it had been broken before, that is, it shows a state that could be spread over a period of time. But when we say "it got broken" it shows a happening at a particular point of time.

Other examples:

I am married/I got married.

I am engaged/I got engaged.

I am surprised/I got surprised.

  1. But that is not true for the verb "bear". When it changes to passive form, it won't be a state, but a happening. When I say "I was born in 1990" it dosn't show a state, but a happening at a point of time. So I wouldn't need to say "I got born in 1990."

What's the difference between these 2 verbs "1.break" and "2. bear"?

These have the same structure above, but different meaning in passive forms using be verbs. One shows a state and the other shows a happening.

  • 1
    No; 'The glass was broken' is famously ambiguous. Disambiguation is afforded by either situational or verbal ('The glass was broken, we found when we arrived' / 'The glass was broken by Thursday's hail') context. / The 'get-passive' is, as you say, often a choice (but often informal in the UK) showing the active rather than stative situation by forcing a passive rather than adjectival reading. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 10:21
  • +1 from me. I've voted to send this to ELL where I think you'll get a better answer and a more sympathetic audience :) Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 1:19
  • @Araucaria Thanks. How can I get the answers?
    – Reza
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 15:55
  • @Reza I would join ELL and copy and paste this question over there ( the linked-to question here doesn't give you the answers you need). You can find ELL here Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 15:59
  • @Araucaria Oh! Before I asked this here, I had already posted that there. But thank you anyway. If you ever get a good answer there keep me posted too.
    – Reza
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


The word "got" is a notorious word that you should avoid at all cost. You will learn to speak and write better English without it. Though used by a considerable number of native English speakers, I personally consider all such speakers to be unwashed barbarians. I will address this matter more fully later.

The correct way of expressing a particular time when using the verb "to break" is to identify that time while using the past participle form of the verb.

  • The glass was broken on Tuesday.

  • The glass was broken at 5:00 p.m.

Likewise for the verb "to bear:"

  • I was born in 1990.

  • He was born yesterday.

The correct use of "got"

"Got" is the past-tense form of the verb "to get." It's most common correct use is in the context of to retrieve something.

  • I got the order for you.

  • I got the flour we need to bake cookies.

However, there is amlost always a better way to say the phrase, especially with written English. For example:

  • I have your order.

  • I have the flour we need to bake cookies.

Like most verbs, "to get" should operate on a noun, not another verb. It is wholly wrong for something to "get broke" or "get broken." Either something "broke" or it "was broken."

It gained its modern slang use through its definition "to become something." Notably from the 70s in the U.S., "to get down" (generally, to dance in a modern fashion; after the disco era, to become culturally involved). While not the likely root cause of its use as a connecting verb (to get verbed e.g., "to get broken" meaning "to become broken"), it helped the problem along considerably.

And to show you how slang can continue to evolve, contemporary usage commonly drops the verb "to get." E.G., "I'm down [with that]" or "are you down [with that]?")

Therefore, I beg of you, on my hands and knees, whenever you wish to use the word "got," choose not to. Cheers.

  • 6
    Please ignore JBH's prescriptivist ranting, Reza. The "got" passive is a perfectly normal part of informal English. JBH is free to avoid it if they wish, but the choice of whether to do so or not is one of style. Since "got broken" avoids the ambiguity which (as JBH says) is inherent in "was broken", you might expect those who value clarifty and precision to welcome it.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 12:09
  • Reza, you got told! Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 12:13
  • I got the flour and I have the flour mean quite different things. The first means I procured the flour. The second means I am in possession of the flour. If you never use got, you can't make this distinction, which sometimes is important. For example, I got the flu last time I went to the doctor. and I had the flu last time I went to the doctor. Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 13:58
  • 2
    I was told off throughout school by English teachers every time I wrote 'got/get'. Maybe JBH suffered the same.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 21:09
  • 'Get' is a short little verb trying to join the auxiliaries 'be' and 'have'; where it would give English an inchoative (to become) aspect. There is, however, a difference with the passive participle of 'get', which is 'got' in BRE but 'gotten' in AME, so that the perfect of 'get' (but not the inchoative of some other verb) is confusing ("I've got a headache").
    – AmI
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 23:11

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