“One dollar got; five dollar got…” Some of us might recall this TV ad of donkey years ago, where a male voice was heard spouting Singlish right on national TV. I can’t remember if it was a McDonald’s ad or somebody else’s; if you know, please leave a comment so that I got one less thing bugging me 🙂

Singlish — Lesson Two

We continue our lessons on the basics: single words used most frequently in Singlish. Next up has got to be “got” — sorry, can’t resist such an opportunity for WittyCulus-style writing 😉


Coming from the Chinese word , “got” is an easy word to understand. Simply use it in places where “is/are/has/have” would have been used. Or use it to replace other words which convey a similar meaning, as exemplified by the third example below.

So, let’s see what’s the deal about “got”…

  • 晚餐
  • 吗?
  • You
  • got
  • eat
  • dinner
  • ?   
  • 今天
  • 听写测验,
  • 你 应该
  • 知道!
  • Today
  • got
  • spelling test,   
  • you (should)
  • know!*   
  • * In Singlish, “you know” is a very expressive phrase and used commonly; when uttered emphatically, it renders the word “should” superfluous.
  • Alternatively, the same sentence can be spoken thus:
  • 今天
  • 听写测验,
  • 难道
  • 你不知道!
  • Today
  • got
  • spelling test,   
  • don’t tell me**
  • you don’t know!   
  • ** “Don’t tell me” is classic Singlish! I’m not telling you what it means, until a later lesson 😉
  • 患了
  • 感冒,
  • 最好
  • 别接近
  • 他!
  • He
  • got
  • flu,   
  • better
  • siam
  • him!   
  • My Chinese isn’t powderful, but the following would probably have made the cut:
  • 患了
  • 感冒,
  • 最好
  • 闪开为妙!

Speak Good English

Let’s be sure we know those sentences in proper English, viz:

Don’t say this: You got eat dinner?
Say this instead: Have you taken your dinner?

Don’t say this: Today got spelling test, you know!
Say this instead: You ought to know there is a spelling test today!

Don’t say this: He got flu, better siam him!
Say this instead: As he’s got the flu, it’s better to stay away from him!
Say this instead: He’s down with flu — better steer clear of him!

Did You Get That?

Now that you’ve got two basic but typical words in your Singlish vocabulary, have you got what it takes to use them? Try making sentences like these: “This one got chilli, I know you like.”; “Where got?”; “When I got more money, surely can buy this one!” and so on.

Practise; and have fun! If you are the sort who needs to revise one, Lesson One is found here. Meanwhile, do watch out for Lesson Three, coming soon…

2 Responses to “Singlish Primer — Have You Got What It Takes?”

Comments (2)
  1. Hi Mark,

    I got what it takes to use Singlish because I got read your posts 😉

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