even got to within a minute

Could anybody explain the meaning of the following sentence:

“The previous launch attempt in early April even got to within a minute of blast-off before the countdown sequence was halted?”

Does it mean that the launch was canceled when only one minute left to start?

Hi Fedorov,

Yes, that’s what it means (or possibly that it was cancelled with less than one minute left to start).

OK, that was just an unusual language pattern for me. Thank you for the explanation.

And one more question. Wouldn’t it be better to say: “had gotten to within a minute?”

‘Gotten’ is a horrible unnecessary word, in my opinion. - I suspect the American speakers here will disagree, as it is the past participle of ‘get’ in American English. :slight_smile:

You’re right that the sentence above isn’t the most straightforward way of writing. I would probably have written something like:

“At the previous launch attempt in early April, the countdown sequence was stopped with less than a minute to go until blast-off.”

That was very kind of you to write such a detailed answer. Thank you, Beeesneees!

I definitely do disagree with you on “gotten.” I am an American speaker, and I love that word. There are subtle differences between “gotten” and “got” in American English.

I knew you would. :slight_smile: These are the vagaries of the English language.

I would never dream of using the word gotten except as part of the phrase ‘ill-gotten’. I suppose that makes my objection to it rather hypocritical, but that is what I have been brought up with.
In any event, at least I’m not disputing the fact that it is a word… I understand it goes back to medieval English and has its origins in British English, being derived from its earliest form ‘geitan’, from ‘geta’ “to obtain, reach”.

Could you tell more about those subtle differences, Mordant?

In American English, “gotten” is often “to have received” or “to have acquired.”

I have gotten three packages this week. = I have received three packages this week.
Less likely: I have got three packages this week.
Have you gotten my phone calls? = Have you received my phone calls?
Wrong: Have you got my phone calls?
He has gotten three homes in just five years. = He has acquired or received three homes in just five years.

“Got” is “to have possession of.”

I’ve got the clothes you’re looking for. = They are merely in my possession. I have them.
*I’ve gotten the clothes you’re looking for. = I have actively sought them out and acquired them.

I’ve got your pen. = I have it.
I’ve got three packages. = I have three packages.
I’ve got the answer to your troubles. = I have the answer

As you can see, “gotten” is more active than “got” in the previous two sets.

They are also used to narrow something down to specifics and in time.

I’ve gotten it right three times. -(So far but not necessarily in this moment) What you’ll most often hear
I’ve got it right three times - Less likely

Contrast those two with these:
I’ve gotten it right. - Some time before but not necessarily now (I have had it right before.)
I’ve got it right. - Likely right now (I have it correct in this moment.)

“Got” = demands or necessity:

You have got to stop calling me. = You must stop calling me.
Never: You have gotten to stop calling me.

Have you gotten to travel to Rome? = Have you ever traveled to Rome?
Have you got to travel to Rome? = Must you travel to Rome? or Do you have to travel to Rome?

The past participle of “get into,” especially if you mean it physically, will also take “gotten.”

I have gotten into my home.
Never: I have got into my home.
I have gotten into my classroom.
I have gotten into trouble.
Less likely but not as offensive as Number 2: I have got into trouble.

“Get in,” “get out,” and “get around” all function similarly.

Gotten = “To have become.”
I have gotten less sensitive over the years.
Never: I have got less sensitive over the years.

Gotten = “To have been able to.”
He has gotten to make films for many years. = Has been able to make them for many years.
If I use “got,” the meaning will be confused:
He has got to make films for many years. = Likely to be taken as “He must make films for many years.”

The differences are legitimate – they often change the meaning significantly – so I do appreciate “gotten” for its clarity.

Oh, thanks a lot, Mordant! This is really very interesting and valuable information for any foreigner and in my opinion deserves to be separated into a special topic. I really appreciate that.

How wonderful it is! I only know a bit the differences and how common “to get” is used in American English but have never been taught this in detail before. I think it’s really interesting and helpful for any learners, especially for those who have choosen American English to learn like me. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Good afternoon everybody. My name Hien I’m from Viet Nam I’m very interested in learning English but my English writing skill not so good,
and I haven’t self-confident at English writing.
so please help me how to write correctly and easy to understand.
thanks a lot.
Regards Hien.