Posted by Smokey Stover on March 11, 2004
In Reply to: If not 'get' or 'got', then what? posted by abe on March 11, 2004
: : : : : : : : : (No one in this household has menstruated in two decades so we are out of touch)
: : : : : : : : : Why is it not "I'm having..." or "I'm in..." or "It is my ..."?
: : : : : : : : : Why "got"?
: : : : : : : : : How long has it been "got"?
: : : : : : : : I'll have to do some research and get back to you. Maybe it's "got" because sometimes it might be considered a gift.
: : : : : : : Fowler has a lot to say about "got" and "gotten," and so do lots of others. But as usual the language marches on, indifferent to the grammarians. "I've got" is pretty much used as a synonym for "I have," as well "I have obtained." Thus, "I've got you under my skin," or "I've got the flu," or "I've got my period." Of course, no one says "I have my period," they say "I'm having my period." Or not. In this case, I think there's a tiny nuance in the phrase, and that "I've got my period" means "My period has arrived," rather than "l'm having my period." (I said a TINY nuance.) Actually I don't know anyone who says any of those things except "I've got the flu." SS
: : : : : : Here's another aspect of that tiny nuance: I think statements about "getting" periods are more likely when the menstruation was preceded by uncertainty, as around the time of first or last menstruations or when pregnancy might have begun. "She didn't get her period until she was 18." "She thought she'd reached menopause, but then she got another period." "She checked the calendar and wondered whether she'd get her period on time."
: : : : : "...Anticipation, Anticipation
: : : : : Is making me late
: : : : : Is keeping me waiting..."
: : : : I looked in my references and couldn't come up with a single factlet on "period" or when women started saying "got." I find that odd. Maybe there's a book idea there.
: : : Fact is they're a pain. Whether you 'get' them, 'have' them, 'endure' them. One of the dumbest creations I can imagine. For those who believe in a single all seeing all caring creator, I have to say this is the worst piece of design work ever. The designer had to either be stupid or malicious (neither are normally accredited to said creator). I've had horses and dogs and they obviously hate 'getting' them too.
: : : But the point is that 'get' IS a funny word to apply to the act of 'having a period'. It implies that we have 'obtained' a period, which is a weird way to put it. I've never thought about it before, but I must admit that I, and many others I know, also use that term - ie. "I've got my period" or "I'm getting my period". It is odd. But I really have to query one earlier respondent who suggested it might be a 'gift'. Well if it is, can I get a refund? Admittedly, it probably is a gift if you're avoiding pregnancy. If you're sweating on 'getting' your period to prove to yourself you're not pregnant, then yes it is indeed a gift - in fact a huge sigh of relief.
: : : But if you don't use the word 'get', what word is appropriate - "have", "going through", "experiencing"? I dunno.
: : In those immortal words from 'Gone with the Wind': "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
: Attempting to think of analogus usage of get or got I came up with 'I've got a belly ache' [or head ache or whatever]. These may or may not have been acquired; may or may not be like a 'I've got the flu.
Most men are sympathetic to women suffering periodic distress. But we know that this, too, shall pass, and then you can move on to hot flashes, wrinkles and arthritis. As for the manner of describing one's menstrual condition, "I conceive you may use any language you choose to indulge in without impropriety" (W.S. Gilbert, referring to distress of another kind). SS