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Question
Dear Ted:

Would you please give me some examples of "to HAVE the chance to do something" and "to GET the chance to do something"?

For instance, if the sentence below is correct and natural, should I use "have" or "get"?

When I was on holiday in London, I had/got the chance to see Jeremy Irons in person.

By the way, is it really necessary to use "in person" in the above example?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Would you please give me some examples of "to HAVE the chance to do something"
and "to GET the chance to do something"?

For instance, if the sentence below is correct and natural, should I use "have"
or "get"?

When I was on holiday in London, I had/got the chance to see Jeremy Irons in
person.

*** Knowing that I would be in London while Jeremy Irons was there, I sent him an e-mail,
telling him how much I liked his acting and how much I would like to meet him.  I was surprised when he responded, suggesting a time and a restaurant where we could meet.  That is how I GOT THE CHANCE to see Jeremy Irons in person.

In the preceding example, the contact was done by ME.  I GOT the chance to meet him, because I took action in writing the e-mail.

*** I was by myself in a London restaurant when Jeremy Irons walked in and sat at the table next to mine.  I introduced myself to him, and we had a short, but pleasant conversation.  That's how I HAD THE CHANCE to see Jeremy Irons in person.

In the preceding example, I did nothing to bring about the meeting.  It just happened.  Since there was no action on my part, I HAD the chance.  Since I did NOT do planning, I did NOT GET the chance.

By the way, is it really necessary to use "in person" in the above example?

*** YES.  You might have seen him performing on stage in a drama.  "In person" means that the two of you were face-to-face.

Paolo, if YOU have ACTIVELY done something, then you GET something in return.  If, however, something is GIVEN TO YOU or it just HAPPENS, then you HAVE RECEIVED IT.  You did NOT GET IT.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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