Get into bed vs. Go to bed

HajiSahib

Banned
Punjabi/Urdu - Pakistan
Person 1: When my kid is reading books on his bed late at night, what should I say? Go to sleep or go to bed?
Person 2:
If he is on his bed, he is lying on top of the covers.

Say 'Get into bed and go to sleep'.

Please tell me the difference between 'get into bed' and 'go to bed'.


Thanks.
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    If he is on the bed, he cannot go there. He is already there.

    The difference is about the same as "go home" and "walk into your house." If someone is on his front porch, we don't say to him, "Go home."
     

    HajiSahib

    Banned
    Punjabi/Urdu - Pakistan
    As I understand it...
    Go to bed means go to bed physically, e.g., if your child is in the garden outside home and playing, you say to him, "It's time to sleep. Go to bed".
    Get into bed means to cover oneself with blanket or cover sheet when you're already on the bed, e.g., when your child is not trying to sleep and playing games on phone etc.

    Have I understood it rightly?
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Get into bed means to cover oneself with blanket or cover sheet when you're already on the bed,, e.g., when your child is not trying to sleep and playing games on phone etc.
    No, that isn't what it means. I'd expect "Go to sleep" in such a situation.

    There aren't many contexts where "Get into bed" might be used as an imperative (to tell someone what to do). I suppose a person in bed might possibly tell their spouse who's walking around the room: Why don't you get into bed? A parent might say it to a child who's in his bedroom but refusing to lie down.

    Have you looked at the threads linked to in #4? The second one explains this phrase.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Whereas this parent and grandparent would tell a child to get into bed, and has done so on many occasions - originally speaking to children and later to grandchildren. To me there's little point in saying "go to sleep" to a child who is on and not in their bed.

    I don't understand why Barque thinks the imperative "Get into bed" is in any way uncommon when talking to an active child who is supposed to be going to sleep. It is, of course, also something said to a child playing with toys on the bedroom floor, but it doesn't matter if the child is on or beside the bed - the important point is that the child isn't in the bed. On one memorable occasion one of my granddaughters heard it 20 or more times in an hour. o_O
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I disagree with Barque on this one. Get into bed can certainly be used for someone lying on top of the covers and, like Andy, I think it's a very common imperative in the context of kids' bedrooms.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Maybe I look at it differently then. I think of "getting into bed" as the entire action of climbing into bed (and getting under the covers if it's cold). I can understand it being said to a child standing beside the bed but find it difficult to relate it to a child lying on top of the covers and playing with a toy and refusing to go to sleep.

    To me it's like telling someone sitting in a stationary car with the door open and feet on the ground outside to "get into the car" or "get in" (though I'd understand it if it was said to me). I'm more likely to ask them to close the door. Edit: Poor example, perhaps. The more I think about it, the more "Get in" starts to sounds reasonable.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think of "getting into bed" is the entire action of climbing into bed (and getting under the covers if it's cold)
    We may have a climatic difference. It would be unusual for a child in Britain to sleep without being covered, so "get into bed" means both "go from off the bed to on the bed" and "go from not under the covers to under the covers". That is, the action of getting into bed is not complete until the child is tucked up under the sheet and blankets or duvet.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Exactly - it's pretty rare in the UK to NOT be under some covers

    RE the car idea - If someone is 1/2 in the car but you cannot shut the door you can say « get in the car ».
     
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