Can I use have got in sentences like these?

My mother wants to have got a child (or) My mother wants to have a child.

He may/might/could/can/should (modal verbs) have got a car (or) he (modal verbs) have a car.

Can I use have got in future form? I think have got can be used in past tense, except progressive, past perfect, present perfect and future tense.

He had got a motorcycle / he had a motorcycle.
He has got a red apple / He has a red apple.
He will have got a dog / He is having got a dog / He has had got a dog / He had had got a dog.

The correct are:

He will have a dog / He is having a dog / He has had a dog / He had had a dog.

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    There are loads of questions related to the use of "have got", have you tried looking through those to see whether they have answered any of your questions?
    – SteveES
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 14:51
  • E.g. ell.stackexchange.com/q/62943/51806
    – SteveES
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 14:55
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    There are very few contexts where the sequence want to have got can occur "naturally" in English. Even something like He wants to have got laid before he goes off to war would more likely be expressed as He wants to get laid before he goes off to war. Commented May 30, 2017 at 16:26

5 Answers 5


If have is being used in the rather abstracty/vague sense of "to experience" or "to consume" (but often stands in for a more specific verb), have got can't be substituted and still mean an emphatic form of have in the same sense. Have got in these instances will change the sentence to where it means to obtain something rather than consume something.

I had some cereal = (I experienced some cereal - I ate some cereal)

I had got some cereal = (I obtained some cereal - I have a box or bowl of it but haven't necessarily eaten it yet)

I had some of my medicine and now feel better.

I had got some of my medicine. (I can't feel better because I am now holding it but haven't necessarily consumed it)

I had sex yesterday.

I had got sex yesterday (Sounds like I had to do or trade something to get it.)


When have is being used as a modal verb (or helper verb), then you cannot use "have got". When have is being used as a main verb, you can replace it with "have got", but only in the present tense. This is true for possessive uses of have: I have three dollars.


The pertintent point here is that 'to have a baby' means, when said by a woman, 'to go through the process of pregnancy and end up with a child'.

If you use 'have got', it sounds like you've been given a baby, as in, been chosen to adopt one, or that you have just kidnapped a child.

A babysnatcher bringing home a baby would say 'I've got a baby', and an infertile couple granted one by an adoption board would also say 'we've got a baby'.

An infertile woman may want to have a baby, but she would not say 'I want to have got a baby'. If waiting for an adoption board decision, she would say 'I want to be given a baby.


Because "have got" is an informal colloquialism, it's not about correctness as much as what sounds natural. The speaker is barely considering the tense of the sentence. Think of it as a simple rule of word replacement: the words "have/has got" can replace the main verb "have/has," but only when it has no auxiliaries. It also works where "have to" (pronounced "haff to" in many dialects") has replaced "must." From there, you can contract or drop the "have" entirely:

I've got a dollar.

I gotta go!

By the way, the past participle "gotten" is unrelated to all this.

Here's my guess why, in example sentences:

The nicest simple sentences have got exactly one auxiliary.

Using none produces a more sterile tone. Academic contexts may expect this, and robot overlords demand it.

But even though correct and sometimes necessary, soon all your extra helping verbs will have had sounded so awkward!

Sometimes people kinda use other fillers or constructions to help. They tend to avoid using a single lonely verb.

There are exceptions; linking verbs sound natural alone. Brief phrases pass too. Use command forms by themselves. Common idioms work like a charm. Even among friends, broad or meaningful topics transcend this. An occasional simple sentence flows naturally, but close friends just won't wanna do it all the time.

But I hope nobody takes me for an expert. I even verbify my own wordages sometimes!

I'm wondering if I've ever thought about this until now...

  • I wouldn't call "have got" slang. It's very common even in polite, educated speech, in British English. It is less formal than "have", and can only apply in certain circumstances (and not generally when "have" was an auxiliary), but it has and follows grammatical rules and is not limited to any particular demographic, not associated with less education, and so on. Otherwise a reasonably good explanation.
    – SamBC
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 16:23
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    I don't consider slang necessarily impolite or uneducated. I use slang quite often! Google and Wikipedia also seem to disagree on that. However, I was unaware of its association with in-group social contexts. It looks like "colloquialism" is a more accurate term, so I edited my answer. But in casual company, I wouldn't discuss the difference between slang and colloquialisms unless I wanted to admit that I'm a language nerd :)
    – BoomChuck
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 23:30

Ouch. "Have got" just hurts to hear. The contraction "I've got" is common, as in "I've got two tickets to paradise." Sometimes, people will say "have got" to emphasize something like that, as in "I have got just three dollars in my pocket." But "have got" really isn't correct. It's verbiage. "I have two tickets to paradise." "I have just three dollars in my pocket." If you can express something with just "have", why would you even consider adding "got?"

If you're talking about "have gotten", that's something else entirely.

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    This is personal preference dressed up as fact. Why is it "incorrect"? Because oftenconfused (and many other people) don't like it. Why don't they like it? Because it's "verbiage". The fact is that, as oftenconfused says, many people say it. I would agree that it is informal, in register.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 8:41

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