Hi,

I often hear the expression, "I got you." Does this always mean, "I understood you"? Or Is there any other idiomatic meaning?

Thank you,

M
Hi, m.

We have an expression "playing gotcha!" (Sometimes it's called NIGYSOB -- "Now I've got you, etc.")

It means that you score an imaginary point in an imaginary game.

Perhaps in heavy traffic, someone cuts you off, so you cut him back.

(He got you; you got him back.)

Perhaps in an argument, you trick your "opponent" into proving himself wrong.

The expression is often used in a derogatory way to suggest a member of a "team" is acting disingenuously by getting pleasure out of making fools of his colleagues, when he should be cooperating in a spirit of camaraderie.
mitsuwao23Does this always mean, "I understood you"?
Not always!
long time no see, really.

So basically I could take the phrase literally, couldn't I ? Is there any unexpected, tricky meaning?

Thank you,

M
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mitsuwao23So basically I could take the phrase literally, couldn't I ?
As I see it, there's not very much about "got" that could be described as "literal." Most of the "got" phrases are idioms.

If we're talking about the phrase "I got you," In most cases of casual use it's completely interchangeable with "I've got you." It usually takes context to convince us that simple past tense is intended.

I went to the beach and got a sunburn.

Absent context, "I got a sunburn" is casual/slang for "I have a sunburn." (simple present)

Similarly, "I've got you" is casual for "I understand you" (simple present),

but "I got you" can mean "I understand you" or "I understood you."

I think the literal meaning of "to get" is "to obtain" or "to receive."

Did you remember to get the milk? What did you get on the math exam? .

I got him good. Maybe I punched him in the nose very hard. (past)

I got him where I want him. I have him over a barrel. (present)

If you have examples where you think "I got you" means "I understand you," but you wonder if it could mean something else, please give us the specifics -- full context and exchange of dialogue.

Best wishes, - A.

Edit. Another common one (in the other direction) is "You/you've got me [there]."

(You ask me a question which I should be able to answer but can't.)
Hi, thank you Avangi for the detailed explanation.

This is the context I can't be sure. Simply, "I understood you (what you tried to say)" makes perfect sense here but somehow I am not comfortable with my understanding.

"I tried my best to work with you and the others, but sometimes a person's best just isn't good enough." She took another cookie and turned it over in her hands. "I really wanted to prove myself and make a difference in people's lives, but it's hard to do your job when you're met with so much resistance. My students don't like me, and I guess that's just the way it is. What can I say? As a speech teacher, I'm a complete failure."
She moved her hands toward her face, and I worried that she might start to cry. "Hey, look," I said. "I'm thorry."
"Ha-ha," she said. "I got you." She laughed much more than she needed to and was still at it when she signed the form recommending me for the following year's speech therapy program. "Thorry, indeed. You've got some work ahead of you, mister."

Thank you,

M
That's a great paragraph! I enjoyed it.

You really must understand the relationship and the history between the participants in this dialogue.

What kinds of games have they played in the past?

My guess from what you've given us is that the teacher is playing a game with the student, although he may be an unwitting participant.

She won the game by getting him to fall for her act. That is, he really believed that she was feeling desperately unsuccessful as a teacher.

It reminds me of a type of "joke" known as "a shaggy dog story."

The joke-teller convinces his audience that he's relating an interesting anecdote. When he gets them on the edges of their seats with curiosity, he ends the story with some really rediculous punch line -- perhaps an eye-rolling pun.Emotion: rolleyes

In addition to the pun, the joke is that the audience believed the story would have a "satisfying" ending. They were suckered, or sucked in, or "fooled."

This is a gotcha moment! (Ha ha! Gotcha! "I got you!" -- I tricked you into believing me.)

Sometimes the object of the story is to get the listener to ask, "Well, - - what happened?!!"

(Then the punch line.)

In your paragraph, the teacher's "story" does not have a rediculous punch line, but she did succeed in eliciting a sympathetic response from the student.
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This is WOW! absolutely woooww! You made perfect sensen, and that's the reason I was feeling uncomfortable.

Here it is: another part from the preceding paragraphs.

It was unlike Agent Samson to speak so casually, and awkward to sit in the hot little room, pretending to have a normal conversation.

"So," she said, "what are your plans for the holidays?"

"Well, I usually remain here and, you know, open a gift from my family."

"Only one?" she asked.

"Maybe eight or ten."

"Never six or seven?"

"Rarely," I said.

And what do you do on December thirty-first, New Year's Eve?"

"On the final day of the year we take down the pine tree in our living room and eat marine life."

"You're pretty good at aVOiding those s's," she said. "I have to hand it to you, you're tougher than most."

I thought she would continue trying to trip me up, but instead she talked about her own holiday plans.

Thanks! I'm glad I asked you.

M