My Friday F-Off: Gotten It

My Friday F-Off: Gotten It

I know it’s a word, I know it’s in the dictionary, but I ain’t gonna say gotten no more.

Maybe (well, likely) it is just me, but I find the overuse of the word ‘gotten’ infuriating. You may not notice it, but I bet you will notice it now. There are so many better words in the English language which means that every time I hear someone use gotten, and misuse it, I feel like pulling out my thesaurus to give them a whack across the head. I mean, to let them look it up.

For the record:

gotten: UK /ˈɡɒt.ən/ US /ˈɡɑː.t̬ən/ us

past participle of get:

They were so pleased that they’d finally gotten to visit (= succeeded in visiting) England.
I would have said, “They were so pleased that they’d had a chance to visit.” Alternately, “They were so pleased to have a chance to visit.”
Technically, past participles should reflect an action that started in the past and continues to now. Can you ‘get’ everything, as is implied by the overuse of this word, in the past and still be getting it now? “I have gotten behind in my novel writing,” is a real example of somewhere I think it would be appropriate. But, I would still say, “I am behind in my novel writing.” Or, more accurately, “I am substantially behind in my novel writing.”
At, there are exactly 62 synonyms for gotten to mean achieve; 14 representing fall victim to; 20 for seize; 13 meaning come to be; 22 if you want to understand; 13 to say arrive; 3 expressing contact for communication; 16 meaning arrange; 20 if you have to convince; 24 to have an effect on; 8 if you want to produce offspring (No more thanks. I have plenty of synonyms for that too.); 19 meaning irritate; and 19 for confuse.
That is a grand total of 252 direct synonyms for gotten (I did the math in my head so correct me if you will, just as long as you don’t use the G word.)! Remember that each of those synonyms also has synonyms. So, the possibilities for use of any other word in the English language instead of gotten are equal to the chances of… well of seeing that unicorn farting rainbows you’ve been blowing out candles for since you were three.
I don’t know why this word bothers me. You can say ain’t or filler words like huh, eh, or like, even clichés ’till the cows come home, and I will take those in stride without looking over my reading glasses at you with a tsk tsk like Ms Parsons did in 9th grade English when I corrected her grammar. What she needed more than a grammar lesson were a shower and a new wardrobe, but I thought that cruel. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I was the only student she ever excused from her class and signed the permission slip to be assigned another teacher. Oh, those were the good ole days.
Maybe it started with Slash. Wait for it… he has a song featuring Adam Levine with the lyrics: You just get me, Like I never been gotten before.
Number one: You should never trust grammar from a guy named Slash. Number two: Just because Adam sings it, it doesn’t mean it is real. Remember this little ditty? “Yesterday I saw a lion kiss a deer.” So yeah, not as trustworthy now is he?
Your homework today is to try and eliminate the word gotten from your vocabulary unless you are singing with Slash. You know Slash is laughing behind those dark glasses at Adam and the rest of us for singing along to his song.

If you love clichés you will love this other post I wrote. Because ain’t notin’ better, than a good ole cliché on a sunny Friday, or Tuesday, or any day really.


  1. The one that gets me is “you got got”. It has really gotten me, excuse me… It really has annoyed me.
    Arionis recently posted…Boy, did he knock on the wrong doorMy Profile

  2. It’s always amused me that the words “moist” and “swab” get under some peoples’ skins, and now I can add “gotten” to the list. Of course “moist” is a word that seems to bother a lot of people and “swab” afflicts a fairly large swath while “gotten” is really, really, really specific, only affecting a single person that we know of. Still it’s good to add another to the list.
    Christopher recently posted…Riding The Route: #3.My Profile

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