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get it or got it

 
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hiromichi



Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1320

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:21 pm    Post subject: get it or got it Reply with quote

In this forum I use an expression ' I get it.' Is it exchangeable with ' I got it.' ?
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SimpleEnglishBlogger



Joined: 01 Feb 2011
Posts: 50
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect you haven't gotten an answer on this because it's actually a very difficult question to answer!

Although they are very similar in meaning, the terms are not completely interchangeable.

A couple of examples I can think of...


Example 1:

A: My friends invited me to go with them to Cancun for Xmas and New Year but I don't have enough money. But I really wanna go!
B: Why don't you just work overtime?
A: They don't have the hours available at work.
B: That sucks. How about getting a part-time job somewhere else?
A: I can't because I work shifts.
B: Hmmm... I don't know what else to suggest.
A: Yeah, I guess I'll just have to tell my fri----
B: Wait! I got it!
A: Yeah? What?
B: Sell some of your comic books! You have some that are worth over $100 in your collection.

Here, one would never use "I get it!"



Example 2:

A: So are you coming with us to Cancun this winter?
B: I don't think I can.
A: Why not?
B: Because I don't have the money.
A: I thought you were going to sell some of your comic books, weren't you?
B: Yeah, well, I thought about it and I just can't bring myself to do it.
A: Why not?
B: They've been in my collection for so long. Plus, if I sell them, I'll have to eventually get them back somehow anyway.
A: Yeah, I get it. When you have something so important for so long, it's like giving up a part of yourself.
B: Exactly. I just can't do it this time.

Here the speaker uses "I get it". We wouldn't use "I got it" here.


That said, I should point out that in the first example it doesn't really mean "I understand". It really means "I've got the solution!" So maybe that's not really a fair example but it IS a case where the expression is used where the other cannot.

I can't immediately think of a way to EXPLAIN when and how to use them and why there are times when one can be used when the other can't.

Sometimes language is that way. You learn by osmosis - by exposing yourself to the language a LOT - and you will naturally learn which one sounds more natural for a given situation. But not all things can be explained easily by a set of rules that you can memorize.

Trying to come up with a few situations...

1) When a parent is scolding or warning a child, they might say something like, "Next time you take the car, make sure you bring it back with a full tank of gas. Got it?" (Here we say "got it", not "get it".)

2) A: It's easy. Look. This is your newsfeed and this is your wall. What you put up on your wall is seen by all your friends. Your timeline is what all YOUR friends put up on their walls.
B: What if I want to put something on my friend's timeline?
A: You can't do that. You can only post to their wall.
B: So I can only post on my or someone else's wall and the timelines are simply showing me what all my friends' walls have on them?
A: Yeah, pretty much.
B: OK. I get it now! (Here you could say "I got it" but "I got it" carries the connotation of a very firm grasp and complete understanding of the concept. Most of the time, in a situation like this, when something is being explained to you, you understand but it's not really solidified so "I get it" sounds more natural.)

"I got it" sounds a bit harsh or aggressive when used to mean "I understand what you are telling me".

It can also simply be the past tense of "get it".

A: (tells a joke and everyone laughs except C)
B: hahahaha! Hey, C, you're not laughing. You don't get it, do you!
C: (embarrassed) I get it! I just don't think it's funny.
B: OK, explain it to me then.
C: Why, didn't you get it?
B: I got it. I just wanna know if you got it.

The more I think about this, the more I realize just how much there is to this question. I think an entire chapter could be written on it. LOL

But as I said, learning a language sometimes means just listening to things many times in the right contexts and you'll eventually develop a deeper understanding than could be possible by reading a grammar book. Sometimes it's just so difficult to explain in words. It's better to "feel" the difference with experience.
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hiromichi



Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1320

PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SimpleEnglishBlogger:
Thank you very much for your response.
What I learned reading your explanation is that I need more and more osmosis to express myself accurately in English , sometimes through trial and error.
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Oll Korrect



Joined: 05 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a good one. I try to get my students to use "get" more often in casual conversation, and I've spent some time trying to make the multiple uses as simple as possible.

Nice explanation of the differences there; I'll be thinking about that one.

I'd say the main point for me is that "get it" works when you're understanding something from another person, while "got it" works when an idea comes into your head, from another person or from anywhere. (We translate "eureka!" as "I've got it!")

But yeah, I could spend all day on that one...
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hiromichi



Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1320

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oll Korrect:
Thank you very much.
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