General Writing and Grammar Help/Got


Dear Ted:

You wrote this:

I got tangled in the leash of my dog. I thought I GOT my left leg -- my BAD leg -- free, but that belief was also an error.

My question is the following:

What does "got" mean in ".....I got my left leg....."?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.


Dear Paolo:

I got my left leg = I put my left leg in a position so that my leg would not move.

It's an idiomatic expression.  People generally use it when they end up in predicaments that are NOT of their own making.  When I say that "I got tangled in the leash of my dog," I am indicating that I didn't purposefully "tangle" myself.  I, essentially, am using the leash as a scapegoat for my own stupid actions.

It's ironic that the news in the U. S. and MANY other parts of the world is about Barack Obama and his "red line."  At first, he clearly said "I am drawing a red line that must not be crossed."  He made a brief address in Stockholm earlier today.  He said that HE didn't draw the line; the international community DID.

Obama defenders in this country are trying to shift the "red line" comment to those that oppose Obama.  [Interestingly, the Obama defenders are now blaming the British parliament!]

Those people here that think Obama should have kept his mouth shut are saying, "He GOT himself into this BOX.  And he expects the U. S. and its allies to GET him out of the box."

I completely accept the responsibility of my getting myself tangled in the leash.  Obama NEVER accepts responsibility for anything he and his friends do.


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Ted Nesbitt


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.


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

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

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