13

I saw the sentence on the internet like this:

I don't know how much money he has got.

I think that

I don't know how much money he got.

is only possible here.

What is the difference between the two?

  • 9
    Here's a clue: have got means have, rather than got. – Damkerng T. Mar 28 '17 at 13:33
27

In the first sentence, "got" is redundant. You can just say "I don't know how much money he has." This refers to the amount of money he already possesses.

The second sentence, "I don't know how much money he got" refers to the amount of money he just received.

  • 5
    In the first sentence, "got" certainly isn't redundant if you're a speaker of British English. – errantlinguist Mar 28 '17 at 20:06
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    "I don't know how much money he's got" in BrE means exactly the same as "I don't know how much money he has" does in AmE, but "I don't know how much money he has" sounds extremely artificial in BrE. – errantlinguist Mar 28 '17 at 20:12
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    @errantlinguist That's an interesting cultural note. Adding "got" makes the sentence sound very clunky to me. This may be why my (native British) editor tried to ensure I never used any form of "get" or "got" in my writing at all, just for clarity's sake. :) – Roger Mar 28 '17 at 20:15
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    Interestingly, to me, omitting the "got" sounds clunky: Cf. "do you have a minute?" vs. "have you got a minute?". Although, to be honest, it sounds more like "hevye go'a minute?" – errantlinguist Mar 28 '17 at 20:16
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    As a BrE speaker, I think that (in the sense of possess) "has" is a bit literary, "has got" more colloquial, but it depends very much on the context: he has lots of money, he has a charming wife, he has a broken leg, what kind of car has he got? – Michael Kay Mar 28 '17 at 23:42
7

The past tense of “get” is “got”, just as in British English, but you should remember that: In American English, the past participle of “get” in its literal sense of “receive” or “become” is usually “gotten”. In the sense of “must” or “have”, the past participle is always “got”.

'Got' vs. 'gotten' in English – Jakub Marian

So if you are in North America, then it might be better as: "I don't know how much money he has gotten." However that would require the 'has' (because it just sounds better to my ear). It means that you do not know how much money he has already in his possession.

I am Canadian and have never used 'gotten' in my life!

  • 'I don't know how much money he got.' This means you do not know how much money he received for a reason.
  • 'I don't know how much money he has got.' This means you do not know how much money has already has in his possession.
  • 2
    Interesting to hear how dialect-specific gotten is! It sounds completely normal to this USAnian. Would you say "I've gotten over it" or "I've got over it", or would you just phrase that in a completely different way? – stangdon Mar 28 '17 at 18:18
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    @stangdon "I got over it." "I'm over it." "I am passed that." "I got passed that." It was difficult to move to Texas, It is quite different from Ontario. The Ma'am thing still bothers me, even though I know it is polite and I have reached 'that' age. (Age being the requirement for being 'Ma'am'ed in Toronto. I am having trouble getting over it. ;)) – WRX Mar 28 '17 at 19:04
  • Native AmE speaker here. To my ear, "...he has gotten" -> Present perfect of "got" -> He recently came into possession of some cash and you're not sure how much. Meanwhile, "...he has got" -> You're British or something. – Kevin Mar 29 '17 at 1:04
  • @Kevin yes, I am Canadian. Some Canadians speak like Brits in terms of some word choices and spellings. I say 'tom ah to', but most do not. They say 'to may to'. – WRX Mar 29 '17 at 1:50
  • Well, "I don't know how much money he has gotten", in AmE, does not mean that I do not know how much money that I already have in my possession; it means that I don't know how much money I have received. In American English, if I said, "I don't know how much money I have (got)", then that means that I don't know how much money I have in my possession. Because of this, I've downvoted your answer, WRX. – Nick Jan 7 '18 at 6:31
1

As so often is the case with English, the meaning does not match the words. Strictly speaking "How much money you have got" means "how much money has come into your possession". In the absence of a defined window of time, this would be your total income since birth.

Fortunately this is so unlikely a question as to cue idiomatic interpretation - as the amount of money you currently possess.

But it's still a ridiculous construction. Omitting got changes the meaning not one whit, but makes meaning and words agree. It's also shorter. Use the simplest structure that conveys your intent. Sadly, idiom often ignores this rule.

I think it's worth pointing out that there are many British dialects. Use of "has got" is discouraged in RP English and is far less common in the middle classes.

  • In American English, the meaning changes if we say "have gotten" rather than "have (got)". "have gotten" means the same as "have received". – Nick Jan 7 '18 at 6:36
-1

Here's how these variations sound to me:

I don't know how much money he got.

He received some money at a particular time.

I don't know how much money he has got.

There's some money in his pocket. Where and when he received it is not mentioned or not of concern.

I don't know how much money he has gotten.

He's been receiving money repeatedly over time.

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