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Jane Mairs, Director of English language Learning Publishing
Have got and have gotten
Thursday December 31st 2015
Question
What is the difference between have got and have gotten? — Tegner, India
Answer

Have got and have gotten are different in British and American English. In American English, these two forms have separate meanings, while in British English, have gotten is not used at all. For the details, read the explanations and examples below.

HAVE GOT – Used in British and American English

In both British and American English, have got means have when it’s followed by a noun phrase, and have to (or must) when it’s followed by to + a verb. Below are some examples of each. Some of them include contractions with have/has + got, which are common.

HAVE GOT + NOUN = have (more common in British English than American English)

  • We’ve got a lot to accomplish today.
  • Russ and Sara have got two dogs and a cat.   

HAVE GOT + VERB = have/has to, or must

  • She’s got to save money for college.
  • Things have got to change around here.

HAVE GOTTEN – Used in American English, only

Have gotten has three different possible meanings in American English: have obtained, have become, and have entered. Below are some examples of each, including contractions with have/has + gotten, which are common.  

HAVE GOTTEN = have obtained

  • I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on this hat.
  • Anita could have gotten a job anywhere she wanted.

HAVE GOTTEN = have become

  • Things have gotten much better.
  • People have gotten confused by the new rules.

HAVE GOTTEN = have entered

  • Chemicals may have gotten into the water.
  • They’ve both gotten into medical school.

 

 

 

 

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