to get passed = get past?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by prankstare, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil
    I was watching TV and heard a guy saying, "This is something I can't get passed/get past very easily".

    I mean, does "to get passed" even exist? I know "to get past" something does exist, but the problem is that since I write from Brazil the local channels which broadcast foreign TV programs usually either dub or display translated subtitles, of course, and what happened is that in the subtitles it showed that bit as the same as say "This is something I can't pass up very easily".

    Can "get past (something)" and "pass up (something)" mean the same thing depending on context?
     
  2. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    "Get passed" would be incorrect in this context. It is "get past", meaning go beyond; the "something" is an insurmountable obstacle to the speaker. This is idiomatic. The translation is almost certainly in error, unless further context reveals an unusual use of words by the speaker, so "pass up" (refuse, decline) is extremely unlikely to be meant here.

    "Get passed" is possible, in another context: "I never get passed the ball" (no one ever passes me the ball).
     
  3. HighlyAcidic Senior Member

    Washington DC
    English - USA
    Hi,

    1) "To get passed" is grammatically correct, but only in a completely different situation. In this sense, "to pass" means to throw or give something from one person to another. It's often used in sports - The football got passed from the quarterback to the receiver.

    However, this sounds very clumsy for two reasons:

    a) It's much better to use the verb "was" - "The football was passed..."
    b) It's better to use active voice in the first place - "The quarterback passed the football to the receiver."

    2) "To get past" and "to pass up" have very different connotations. The first implies overcoming an obstacle, either emotional or physical. The second implies missing an opportunity.

    Some examples:

    "This video game is so hard! I can't get past the second level!"
    "I know the divorce was very traumatic for you, but you have to get past it and move on with your life."

    "I passed up my chance to invest in Google stock while it was cheap."
    "Don't pass up this fantastic opportunity - you'll regret it!"
     
  4. BantyMom

    BantyMom Senior Member

    California
    English - USA
    "get passed" is also correct for almost anything involving passing by something (not only passing something to someone)

    for example: "Hurry up already! I don't want to get passed by that other team."

    I'm thinking, however, that the example of passing another level in a game or surmounting a problem, one could make a case for that being a form of the verb involving "passing up" things, certainly as opposed to speaking of "past" as a form of time.

    Interesting comparison here:
    You need to pass the gate before you turn left.
    He passed the gate and then turned left.
    He got past the gate and then turned left.
    He got passed at the gate just before he turned left.

    I'm intrigued now and will do some research.

    Ok, after doing a little hunting, I noticed the following:

    It's somewhat of a passive vs active situation:

    The first 2 are active, "He" being the subject that is doing the passing.
    The last one is passive. In passive voice, the actual subject is unstated and the object, again "He,"
    only appears to be the subject.

    Examples: Max passed Judy at the gate. Judy was passed at the gate by Max. In both
    cases, Max did the passing, and Judy was the object, but you see how she becomes the subject in the passive sentence.

    In the third example, "past" is used prepositionally, so there is
    no object involved (except, of course, for the gate).

    Unfortunately, this doesn't clear it up completely. I just know this is going to noodle around in my head for some time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  5. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil
    OK. Thank you all for your replies. :D

    What's so intriguing about what's said in my first post is that I can clearly remember that the subtitles translated "get past" as being "ignore" (as in, "This is something I can't ignore that easily" = or pass up, or ignore, or discard, or whatever -- as you wish).

    So if this was really the case, based on this context I mean, you could safely state that the subtitles got the idiom translated wrong?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  6. HighlyAcidic Senior Member

    Washington DC
    English - USA
    "Get past" definitely does not mean "ignore."

    Sounds like the subtitles were wrong.
     
  7. prankstare Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Portuguese - Brazil

    OK. Thanks. :)
     
  8. BantyMom

    BantyMom Senior Member

    California
    English - USA
    I'm not so sure about that. While it may not mean "ignore," in the case of getting past a challenge or the death of a family member, when said in a derisive tone by, say, a man to a woman about something that is on her mind and diverting her attention from him, it almost certainly is intended to mean that she should ignore it.

    Depending on the tone of voice, it can have a wide range of meaning
     
  9. userWR Senior Member

    Paraty - RJ, Brazil
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Hello folks!

    And 20 years from now people will be talking about how Google can’t get past how to sell ads on the Internet.

    What's the meaning of the phrase above? I tried to replace "get past" to "go beyond" and "move on", but it is still strange. The problem is this "how". If it wasn't in the phrase, I would understand.

    What I think it means is: even after 20 years Google will be the best at selling ads on the Internet.

    Please, help me! =)
     
  10. BantyMom

    BantyMom Senior Member

    California
    English - USA
    Can you please provide information on where you found this sentence and the perhaps the rest of the context?

    And 20 years from now people will be talking about how Google can’t get past how to sell ads on the Internet.

    And 20 years from now, people will be talking bout how Google can't seem to go beyond just selling ads on the Internet.

    I could also read it to mean that they are trying to sell ads and not selling as many as they want to and so can't get past that difficulty. This is where the rest of the context would help, but I don't think it is the best sentence in the first place. That is my best guess at this point. I will check back later.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  11. userWR Senior Member

    Paraty - RJ, Brazil
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Hi BantyMom! Thanks very much for your help.

    It's better to create a new post than edit, because others aren't notified when you just edit. =)

    The context: it was talking about how difficult is to change people's mentality about things that they are really used to.
     
  12. BantyMom

    BantyMom Senior Member

    California
    English - USA
    Sorry about the edit. I had edited it right away (I'm slow I guess, because it says it took me 6 minutes) because I realized I hadn't finished my thought. I will take your advice and double post next time.

    Could you perhaps provide the rest of the surrounding paragraph? The sentence still doesn't make sense to me or to others I've asked about it since then. I really want to help on this.
     
  13. Corintio44 Senior Member

    Washington State, USA
    English (American)
    I disagree. It actually can mean "ignore." As a matter of fact, I was thinking of how to say "I can't get past her teeth" in Spanish << Spanish deleted. >>That's what lead me to this thread. It is a very common expression. "Can't get past something" = not to be able to overlook or ignore something.

    You subtitles were translated correctly. That's the first thing I thought of when I was considering translating my sentence of "I can't get past her teeth." I don't understand why the other English-speakers were so fervent in telling you that you were wrong.

    Hopefully now when others look up this expression they realize that it can in fact be used as "to ignore or overlook."

    I hope you weren't too confused by their comments.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2015
  14. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    This is an old thread and I don't think enough context was ever given for the previous examples. "I can't get past her teeth" also means nothing to me with no context.
     
  15. Corintio44 Senior Member

    Washington State, USA
    English (American)
    Context for "I can't get past her teeth" would be:

    She's a really nice girl and pretty too, but I just can't get past her teeth.

    This type of construction is very common. You can hear it constantly on Sit-Coms in the U.S. and also in everyday speech. Perhaps it isn't used in British English. At any rate, the person who posted the thread was right on and it is too bad that it took seven years to confirm to him that he was completely correct.
     
  16. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    This almost-seven-year-old thread was worth resurrecting if only to clarify what was a perfectly legitimate use of "get past". As some people have said of a couple of the 20-or-so people who have announced that they are candidates for the U.S. presidency (the election doesn't take place until November 2016), just as examples and not to be taken as my opinions:

    "She sounds good, but I can't get past the problems with the company she used to run."
    "I like his style, but I can't get past his being accused of involvement in that scandal."

    "Can't get past" here = can't (emotionally or mentally) move past, stop thinking about, this negative thing. The implication is that the speaker would like to think about the positive things but is finding it impossible to stop thinking about the negative one.
     
  17. Corintio44 Senior Member

    Washington State, USA
    English (American)
    Yay! Someone who actually corroborates that "can't get past" is, indeed, a common expression. I use and hear it all the time. I'm glad I resurrected the thread.

    Also, for those who are always asking for more and more context I have to say that the sentence "This is something I can't get past very easily" is plenty of context to understand and render an interpretation.
    << This is the English Only forum. Spanish deleted.>>

    Over and out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2015

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