I think ‘got’ sounds better, but I’d rather my sentence be correct than pretty.

My sentence: The things she’d told him couldn’t be got out of her by just anyone.

Is ‘got’ correct or should I use ‘gotten’?

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    "Gotten" sounds much more natural to me in that sentence.
    – nnnnnn
    Oct 3, 2019 at 10:15
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    "Gotten" sounds unnatural in British English. Oct 3, 2019 at 10:25
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    You need a tag to specify whether you are asking about American or British English. Gotten is regarded as archaic in British English. Oct 3, 2019 at 12:23
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    Gotten is not British English so I have tagged it American English. @KateBunting says it is regarded as archaic — I would say it is obsolete as British English. I was not aware that Shakespeare ever used it, although this site puts me right on that. It also quotes the Coverdale Bible, but I am not aware that it is in the KJV Bible.
    – David
    Oct 3, 2019 at 16:50
  • @WeatherVane In RP English maybe, but since I moved to Merseyside, I’ve gotten used to hearing ‘gotten’. Oct 3, 2019 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


The things she had told him couldn't be got out of her by just anyone.

It is just a matter of usage. Both are correct.

The Americans might use gotten and the British might use got. But gotten is slowly creeping into the British Usage too.

Here is a link to show the difference.


Here is another link to make things clear.


  • 1
    +1 for a good and correct answer. But, links often break. It's best to quote directly the portion of the linked material you wish to highlight in addition to that link.
    – David M
    Oct 3, 2019 at 13:08
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    @JVL I appreciate the helpful links. I’m American, but since this is a sentence from a novel I’m writing and it seems that whether or not this is frowned at all depends on who’s reading it, I think I’ll keep it as is. My concern was whether or not I’d made a blatant mistake. Oddly enough, as I said, I liked the sentence with ‘got’ better, but something was tickling at the back of my brain that said it might make others scratch their heads.
    – MooNieu
    Oct 3, 2019 at 21:20

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