Got to Get Got Gone

Obviously languages evolve however not all evolution is for the better.

Take a look at the SMS version of the English language. Completely understandable for that mode of communication but when it starts to find its way in to general correspondence, and the classroom, or worse a discussion is conducted on the validity of permitting it as a legitimate form of English in the classroom, then surely the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

SMS-ification of English (yes I made that word up) is not just a simplification of the language as the Germans went through in the 1990’s. That was in itself ridiculous and had me, and many Diplom Germanistik scholars, cringing.  SMS in mainstream communications is a complete and unadulterated bastardisation of the language.

However we need not even look to modern technology for examples of poor use of the language. There is an alarming number of native English speakers whose language skills in every day communications leave much to be desired. One only need listen to the television news, pick up a mainstream newspaper, irrespective of whether it is a broadsheet or tabloid, listen to the radio, and you will see and/or hear that the errors abound. Undoubtedly there are some or several in this article.

Nonetheless there are a number of very simple things that annoy the hell out of me. Two that I find particularly irritating are ‘get’ and ‘got’. I remember my grandfather telling me how these are not real words. That instruction has stuck all of these years, and indeed if you think about it there is always a way to express oneself more precisely without the use of the words ‘get’ or ‘got’. Some are more obvious than others. Here are some examples.

“I’ve got to go” … what is wrong with “I have to go”  or “I must go”

“What have you got there?” … try instead “What do you have there?”

“We got this great new thing” … try instead “We received this great new thing”

“When will you get your new computer?” … try instead … “When will you receive your new computer?” … or … “When will your new computer arrive?” depending upon the circumstances.

The list is really endless.

Next time you hear yourself saying ‘got’ or ‘get’, think of how else you might express yourself and let’s stop the erosion of the English language before we simply grunt at each other and use hand signals.

For the record I do not claim to be an English expert, indeed I am far from being an expert in the English language. My father studied English at university and that is about as close as I come to any sort of English academia.


  1. Some years ago at my old office, we advertised for a part-time person to do the office’s scanning. Some of the applications were in SMS which we didn’t take very seriously.
    The driving factor in this is people don’t read much these days compared to say, a generation ago and what you have highlighted is the old evolution mantra “Use it or lose it”
    Thanks for flagging the Skype EULA – it’s really a “snoopers’ charter” as we say here in Blighty – government surveillance by proxy

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