What is the difference between "What got into her" and "What has gotten into her" ?

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    Note that "gotten" is American English. In Britain we say, "What got into her" and "What has got into her" Jun 20, 2020 at 17:27

2 Answers 2


This is a simple case of differing tenses. Got=past tense while gotten=present progressive.

So if you're trying to say something 'got' into her in the defined past then use that, but if you mean it's an ongoing reaction, use 'gotten.'


I would use “what got into her?” to ask about her response to a single situation, whereas “what has gotten into her?” would more likely be asked about the way she is acting over a period of time.

Karen got mad about something Matt said during the meeting. She stood abruptly and stormed out of the room. David looked surprised. “What got into her?”

Or if this has recently become a pattern of behavior for Karen: David looked surprised. “What has gotten into her? This is the third meeting this week where she’s caused a scene, and she won’t tell anyone what’s wrong. It’s so unlike her.”

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