General Writing and Grammar Help/Get [passive voice]

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Question
Dear Ted:

You wrote the following:

Here is another example of the two versions:

Mary WAS OFFERED a scholarship to attend college.
Mary GOT OFFERED a scholarship to attend college.

Both version are used, but only the first is correct.  In this situation, "get" means "to reach for something."  [I will GET the book on the top shelf.]  If you omit "offered" from the sentence above, you will have "Mary GOT a scholarship to attend college."  This version implies that Mary actively TRIED to obtain the scholarship.

My question is this:

With the omission of "offered," the sentence will read "Mary GOT a scholarship to attend college," which is the same as "Mary OBTAINED a scholarship to attend college" AND NOT, as you wrote in the above exaplanation, "Mary TRIED to obtain....." -- In short, your inclusion of "tried" is wrong as one of the meaning of "get" is "to obtain" AND NOT "TRIED to obtain." What do you think? Have I made myself clear?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Both version are used, but only the first is correct.  In this situation, "get" means "to reach for something."  [I will GET the book on the top shelf.]  If you omit "offered" from the sentence above, you will have "Mary GOT a scholarship to attend college."  This version implies that Mary actively TRIED to obtain the scholarship.

My question is this:

With the omission of "offered," the sentence will read "Mary GOT a scholarship to attend college," which is the same as "Mary OBTAINED a scholarship to attend college" AND NOT, as you wrote in the above exaplanation, "Mary TRIED to obtain....." -- In short, your inclusion of "tried" is wrong as one of the meaning of "get" is "to obtain" AND NOT "TRIED to obtain." What do you think? Have I made myself clear?

*** You have made yourself clear, and I agree with your point.  I should NOT have used the word "tried."  The reason I included that word is because I wanted to emphasize that Mary ACTIVELY WORKED hard to get the scholarship.  

Paolo, the problem I had in trying to answer your question is that "got," in these examples, is a colloquialism.  I was trying to show that "Mary was offered" is correct, and "Mary got offered" is not good.  If Mary "was offered a scholarship," she received a "gift."  Using "Mary got offered" doesn't sound like a gift to me.  

But, your correction of my example is right.  I should NOT have used the word "tried."  [I believe that I was in a quandary about HOW to compose the sentence.  I just chose a word that made the example quite questionable -- if not totally wrong.

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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