I'm currently trying to help my non-English friends with some of their English grammar questions. This specific phrase,

The movie deserves better than what it got at the box office.

Specifically the "got" part is difficult to explain. Is there a grammar explanation that can explain the usage of "got" here?

  • 1
    Besides the basic definition of gathered, received, earned? Jan 11, 2023 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


A rewrite of the sentence that maintains its meaning is:

The movie should have received more money in box office sales than it actually received

"Received" is replacing "got" here, and is a transitive verb, with the direct object being the amount of money it deserved.

Another rewrite that might be useful is:

The movie received less money than the amount of money it deserved.

A sentence with only the subject, verb, and direct object would be:

The movie received money

With "received" still functioning in the same way that "got" did in the original.

  • The movie made more money at the box office. Movies don't receive money....
    – Lambie
    Jan 11, 2023 at 21:53
  • Right, both of you. Get means receive here, but specifically, with movies, the phrase used is make money instead of receive money. Receive is a pretty formal verb, but get can stand in for most of its senses. Jan 12, 2023 at 0:20

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