I am really confused now, so I've found out that:

Facts :

HAVE GOT is only used in the present and past form.

the plain "have" is used in all tenses.

HAVE GOT cannot be combined with the modal verbs such as :must, may, might, can, etc. and can't be combined with to+infinitive.

Only the plain "have" can be combined with the modal verbs & it can be combined with to+infinitive. ex. I want to have a pair of shoes (or) I want to have got a pair of shoes.

HAVE GOT and the plain "have" are used in BrE. (Do BrE natives use both ? Could you explain the differences between them?)

The pattern

A. HAVE GOT : I have got.. & I haven't got..& have I got (in the negative, haven't I got ___ ?)

B. HAVE : I do have.. / I have.. & I don't have.. & do I have? (negative, don't I have?)

C. past : I had got /(I did have) I had & I hadn't got /I didn't have & had I got (hadn't I got?), did I have? ( didn't I have?)

Are these facts correct? I await your explanations, thanks.

  • 3
    I quoted CGEL once on have got. It may be useful to you. ell.stackexchange.com/a/89856/3281 Apr 27, 2017 at 12:05
  • Hi! That was my post that I posted it 4 hours ago, so I have edited my question with more new facts. Check them out.
    – user54466
    Apr 27, 2017 at 15:47
  • Hi @Lambie , so, can I use to+ have got
    – user54466
    Apr 27, 2017 at 15:49
  • You asked the same kind of questions on our sister site ELU.
    – BillJ
    Apr 27, 2017 at 15:52
  • 1
    You are making additional accounts, posting multiple copies of your question instead of editing, and posting answers that do not answer your question. Please don't do these things. If you'd like to edit your question, please use the edit link.
    – user230
    Apr 27, 2017 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


Aha. This question is very interesting and unless one has thought about it or taught English, the answer is not obvious.

Here we go: In English (all varieties), there are two ways to say have in the sense of possess in the simple present tense:

I have a car and I have got a car.

Despite what people may try to say via google et alia both forms in the present simple are used in BrE and AmE though one might be tempted to say differently.

(Some time ago, some lady who thought she could teach grammar on a very well-known professional site on the Internet was claiming that phrases like "Got Milk" used in a now famous ad were bad grammar. In fact, "Got Milk" is just a shortening of: [Have] you got milk? In speech, the have is sometimes dropped.

Here's the RUB: The simple past tense in BOTH is: had. For example: I had a car last week. I didn't have a car last week. Did I have a car last week? The auxiliary is did.

BUT: The present perfect tense is not the same (repeat, not the same) in BrE and AmE. For example:

He's got a lot of money recently. [verb: to own or possess] [BrE]

He's gotten a lot of money recently. [verb: to own or possess] [AmE].

In the present perfect tense, Brits use have got regardless of the fact they use either have got and have in the present and Americans use have gotten. The participle gotten is not used in modern BrE.

Therefore, the British use of have got can be present simple OR present perfect.

When you first hear this, unless you realize what is going on, you might mistake the tenses here if you have not been told that gotten is not used in BrE.

To an American (trained and/or educated ear), when you hear the BrE speakers use have got as a present perfect tense, you feel as if something is missing. It is not. That's just the way it is.

All the tenses EXCEPT for the present prefect with gotten in AmE are exactly the same on both sides of the pond.

Modals; generally, yes, the modals used with the verb have meaning to own or possess) in the present are used like this: He must/can/might/should/could/may have [possess] some milk in the fridge. For own or possess, only HAVE, no have got.

But careful, with the verb GET: must have got, should have got, could have got [past tense] in BrE would be: must have gotten, should have gotten, etc. in AmE.

So when get is used in the present perfect as BUY (or other meanings of get) something, for example, one can have:

He must have got [bought] some wine for the party. [BrE]

He must have gotten [bought] some wine for the party. [AmE]

This is the verb get, but that can be confusing if one is not aware of it. Don't confuse the present perfect of GET [have got] with the present tense have/have got (possess).

As for the infinitive: I have got to buy a car or I have to buy a car are both the same meaning. Both are present simple and both are AmE or BrE. But the meaning here is DIFFERENT. To have to [do something]; have got to [do something]. That is, be obliged to do something.

  • BrE speakers will tend only to use "gotten" in fossilized phrases like "ill-gotten gains"
    – Calchas
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:03
  • That is not relevant here. That is an adjectival use.
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:04
  • 2
    This would be relevant "Marckwardt 1958 points out that to many—perhaps most—Americans have got denotes mere possession, while have gotten donotes obtaining" - Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (c.c @Calchas) Apr 27, 2017 at 13:23
  • 1
    /have gotten/ in AmE is the present perfect of the verb to get (which means: to obtain, buy, receive, etc.) In Britain, the present perfect of the verb to get is have got. It is also in Britain, like in the states, one two present forms of have. That's why this is confusing to ELL's.
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:37
  • correction: one of two forms.
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:41

It's plain and clear once you understand and the first thing is that Have got and Have are identical:

    • Have got is commonly British English.
    • Have is commonly American English.
  1. Have got is more common in informal American English.

  2. With Have got in very informal English the word have may be omitted.

    • I got a big house. - 've (have) is omitted.
  3. Since have got is mostly informal, it will almost always be contracted.

  • 1
    I'm sorry but this BrE and AmE usage you claim exists, simply does not. There are two simple present forms for the verb to have in English. Also, this is not so easy to understand if you bring the present perfect into the picture. And have got is not "mostly informal".
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:03
  • Here is an example from The Guardian newspaper: Those who assume that the obsolescent diplomacy of the 20th century – as it is described by today's global network enthusiasts – was conducted entirely behind closed doors by elites have got their history wrong.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/mar/28/diplomacy-technology
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:17
  • 1
    I'm with Lambie, though many usage panels believe that "have got" is more common in BrE than AmE, it's not strictly true. The "got" is just sometimes added when the "have" is unstressed(contracted). Apr 27, 2017 at 13:35
  • I really wonder where this myth arose. It is very widespread. As a translator, I see it all the time in translation forums and my non-native English speaker friends. Yet, here I sit in the US, and I hear it every single day, just about. :)
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2017 at 13:40
  • 3
    It is absolutely correct that have got is less common in AmE. It's quite common in AmE, but significantly more common in BrE, and in many cases AmE speakers say have when BrE speakers would say have got. See Biber et al 1999 for a corpus-based description of the distribution in both dialect groups.
    – user230
    Apr 27, 2017 at 14:49

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