Grammatical Correctness: "he is lucky" vs "he's got lucky"


Which one is better? And could we use get lucky in Present Perfect?

  1. Person A: He has just sold two pictures of his.
    Person B: He is lucky. My husband has been painting for five years and hasn't sold any pictures yet.

  2. Person A: He has just sold two pictures of his.
    Person B: He's got lucky. My husband has been painting for five years and hasn't sold any pictures yet.

Anthony Voronkov

Posted 2017-04-01T10:20:04.797

Reputation: 1 501



he is lucky describes a permanent state, whereas he got lucky describes a change of luck or a temporary period of good luck.

The phrase he got lucky is probably best avoided in this context as, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, it means to meet someone you can have a sexual or romantic relationship with.

You can use present perfect simple with the first version he has been lucky, which would mean that he has experienced good luck over a period of time. You cannot use present perfect simple with the second version he has got lucky because it refers to a change of state, which is by definition a one-time event- no period of time is involved.

You could use present perfect continuous he has been getting lucky, meaning that he has repeatedly met suitable partners over a period of time.

Note that you would be much more likely to say two of his paintings than two paintings of his. This Ngram shows the difference, and if you check actual usages of paintings of his, they are mostly used in a context like paintings of his friends.


Posted 2017-04-01T10:20:04.797

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Everything is clear. I could not even expect such a great explanation. Thank you very much. – Anthony Voronkov – 2017-04-02T09:44:00.763


When a person is lucky, they were born under the right stars, by which I mean that their luck is with them throughout their life. They have always been lucky and will always be lucky.

When a person gets lucky, their success in some particular thing is to be attributed to luck, to some fluke, not to their skill or their innate power or their innate virtues. Only the unlucky can get lucky.

He made that shot from half court!
--He just got lucky. He can barely make a free-throw.

He came out of that accident unscathed. He won the lottery last year. He was promoted to VP in only two years, and his wife is one of the most intelligent, beautiful, and accomplished people I know. He may be the luckiest guy on the planet.


Posted 2017-04-01T10:20:04.797

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  1. the luck is continuous, the painter is often lucky. (To me it also possibly means the speaker doesn't necessarily think he earns it, or the painter would not need luck. We'd need to hear it to know for certain or have it in context.)
  2. This (to me) sounds like the luck, is undeserved. (Again context -- it could be meant very well indeed.)

Or, "He is so lucky (to have won the lottery)!" Or, "He got lucky last night with the girl he met at the party." This means he had sex.


Posted 2017-04-01T10:20:04.797

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