The difference between 'to marry' and 'getting married'

Are you planning to marry your loved one? If so, then, I would say you are going in the right direction. let’s be frank, what is more, sacred than two loved ones getting married?
But you are here to find out the correct way of stating the verb ‘to marry’. So what’s the difference between the two? Generally speaking, in terms of meaning, there is no significant difference, as you might have realized after reading the first paragraph. Both of them, actually, mean the same action of stepping into the official relationship of husband and wife, preferably in a ceremony.

Difference between ‘to marry’ and ‘get married’
Although there is a subtle difference in the meaning, the main difference lies in the structure of the sentence formation.
To marry’ indicates a direct action (the processes of marriage) performed by the subject, while ‘to get married’ indicates turning into a state of married life, which could be used both in a transitive or an intransitive way.
Let’s see some examples—
    1. Surprising his dad, Jake married a woman twice of his age.
    2. Getting dumped by his girlfriend, Charlie got married to a complete stranger in haste.
In the first sentence, the subject Jake performed the process of marriage. Also, notice that the verb ‘to marry’ has a direct object.
However, in the second one, ‘get married’ indicates that Charlie turned into the state of a married man.
So, what is the difference? It is so subtle that no difference seems more obvious.
Simply put, ‘get married’ is the result of the action ‘to marry’.

The correct structures to remember
To use the verb ‘to marry’ correctly the structures in which they are used should be examined. The formation is as follows:
In the sense of marrying someone else, the verb ‘to marry’ is used without the preposition ‘to’. However, there is a situation, when “marry to’ is used, which has been explained in the section ‘marry to vs marry with’ below. It, also, could be used with or without a direct object.
On the question of ‘get married’, if a direct object is used, the preposition ‘to’ is added before the object. A table with examples would explain it better—

Sub + to marry + obj
Alan married Judith.
Don’t ask her to marry you on the first date.
sub + get married + to + object
He, accidentally, got married to the wrong sister.
sub + get married + adverb.
Charlie got married in a Church.

Get marry or get married’
Sometimes the verb phrase ‘get married’ could create some confusion. Questions pop up on the dangling mind—should I always use ‘get married’ or does it changes according to the tense of a sentence?
Using the verb phrase ‘get marry’ instead of ‘get married’ in the sense of ‘to marry’ is incorrect. Get married is the right phrase. It is also incorrect to consider it as the passive form of ‘get marry’. The word ‘get’ changes according to the rules of tenses, and the word ‘married’ remains the same. Like:
The couple has got married recently. (present perfect)
The middle-aged man is not getting married as long as his dream of having a home come true. (present continuous)
In both of the instances, the word ‘get’ takes requirements of the tenses.
Which one is correct ‘marry to’ or ‘marry with’?
Confusion could raise about the use of the prepositions too. Which one should be used? The answer depends on the context of a particular sentence. This context is best explained with a couple of examples.

Being irritated, Evelyn married her daughter to a magician to get rid of her.

Marring off the sons to the choice of their grandmother could be a daunting task for a parent.

When someone finds a husband or wife for someone else (especially for family members) and makes sure the marriage happens, “marry to’ ormarry off’ is used.

In both of the above instances, Evelyn, the mother of the daughter, and the parent of the sons arrange the marriage for their kids.

Marry off’ carries the same meaning as ‘marry to’. The great novelist Jane Austin of the eighteen century used the phrase ‘marry off’ in her wonderful novel Pride and Prejudice, in which a mother is worried about getting the best husband for her daughters:

"Mrs. Bennet spends her day with tittle-tattle and idle conversation. She is vulgar in her behavior; the only aim for her is to get her daughters married off to someone with lots of money." (Pride and Prejudice)

However, when it means two different ideas or things are in harmony, ‘marry with’ is used, like:

The music of the piano marries with Charlie’s life story.

Married as adjective
when we see someone quite interesting, some of us tend to know whether they are married or not married. like—
The women with sarong femininity seem special; is she married?
Here, ‘married’ is used as an adjective.
The takeaway points
To marry’ and ‘get married’, basically, mean to marry someone else, but differ in the structures. ‘Get married’ is a verb phrase meaning to marry, and ‘get marry’ is wrong to use. Also, In regular usage get married is used more.

Last but not least, there is a wonderful and somewhat informal phrase—tie the knot— which also means ‘to marry’ is worth looking at.

The world becomes safer when two good people tie the knot, doesn’t it?


  1. Marriage is embedded in a social context. It can never be isolated from, assessed or commented upon outside of the social, cultural, political context within which it is cuckold websites

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