Is there anything wrong with this question?

"What grade/mark have you got for your English?" And the answer: "I've got an A".

I would like to know a none American point of view as well because, as far as I know, the constructions with "have got" are more popular in other kinds of English.

Here's two almost identical stories found in one old Soviet textbook. An earlier and a later editions respectively. A small remark: kids in Russia receive their grades ranging from 2 to 5. enter image description here

Following this text there are phrases related to it and one of them is "What mark have you got for your English? I've got a four"

  • No, you didn't understand. I got a grade [AmE] and I got a mark [BrE].The point, though, is that got is the simple past of get, in both British and American English. – Lambie 2 mins ago. So the question form for this text is: What grade or mark did the boy get?
    – Lambie
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:39
  • Also, you might want to read this: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/127834/have-got-in-bre/…
    – Lambie
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:42
  • @Lambie yeah, I know that "have got" and "have" both have the same meaning of possession but each of them uses a different grammatical tense: the former uses the present perfect tense the latter uses the present simple tense. I've been wondering if asking about someone's mark (BrE) or grade (AmE) in the present perfect tense is idiomatic in English.
    – Let
    Jun 26, 2020 at 17:53
  • @Lambie it seems odd to me, "You have got" conforms to the pattern of the present perfect tense: [pronoun]+[have/has]+[past participle]. It is present and it is perfect. Like: "I have done", "He has written", "She has sung". All that conforms to present SIMPLE tense looks like this: [pronoun]+[bare infinitive], so I get "I have" "I do" "I go". How come "I have got" in British English can be related to the present simple tense?
    – Let
    Jun 26, 2020 at 18:37
  • $Lambie I see! Wow, I never thought about it in that way. I need to think more about it and do research. Let's imagine for a second that I've put my British hat on. If I say "I have got an A in French" I can either mean: "I've received an A in French recently" or "I have an A in French". Right?
    – Let
    Jun 26, 2020 at 19:12

3 Answers 3


Neither your question nor answer are idiomatic in US English. More likely are

What grade did you get in English?


What grade do you have in English?

Notice that one is in the past tense and focuses on the past effort. The other is in the present tense and focuses on the present result. The answers then would follow suit. So a natural answer to the first question is

I got an A.

A natural answer to the second question is

I have an A.

The first answer responds about the past effort. The second responds about present result.

Notice that "in" is more idiomatic for a course and "on" for a test than "for."

Warning: This question in basic vocabulary and usage is exactly where British and American English are likely to have minor differences. For example, "mark" seems to be more common in the U.K. whereas "grade" is more common in the U.S. My answer may need to be supplemented by someone whose native version of English is not American.

  • I presume in AmE it would be natural to say: I have an A for/on my French dictation, she always gives her students good grades for/on their dictation. Right?
    – Let
    Jun 25, 2020 at 22:15
  • 1
    @Rusletov To have a grade would be unusual wording in AmE—not incorrect per se, but not customary. Casually you would say "I got an A in French dictation [class]" or "I got an A on my French dictation test." If you are describing dictation as one of the components for which you are graded, then you might indeed say "I got an A for dictation[, but only a B+ for composition]." In more formal writing where got is out of place, you could say you earned or received rather than got the grade.
    – choster
    Jun 25, 2020 at 22:31
  • @choster Are you saying it would be more natural to ask about it in the past simple tense?
    – Let
    Jun 25, 2020 at 22:54
  • 1
    In AmE, I would say that you use present tense ("I have an A in French") to mean that is your grade based on all work that has been completed to date. It implies that the course isn't finished, and that your grade could change based on future performance.
    – Richter65
    Jun 25, 2020 at 23:13
  • 1
    If the result of the assessment was a series of letters, then in British English we would use grade, as mark is usually a numerical thing, typically on a nominal 0-100 scale. The usage of got given in the answer is idiomatic in British English. My comment refers to the dialect spoken in south east England.
    – mdewey
    Jun 26, 2020 at 12:51

Following from points raised by the OP in comments here is a specifically British perspective.

Scenario 1. Young people gather outside the place of their education in the summer to receive the results of the public examinations and open the envelopes containing them. They might ask:

What did you get in French?
What grade did you get in French?
What have you got in French?
What grade have you got in French?

This is because these examination results are on a letter scale from A-G or a short numerical scale 1-9 or similar. I would have thought the forms omitting the word grade would be more common and the did form more common than the have you got form.

Scenario 2. An employment interview later in life.

What did you get in French?
What grade did you get in French?

Here in a slightly more formal setting I would expect the interviewer to use grade. The forms with have got would be wrong here as it happened a long time ago.

Scenario 3. An internal examination with marks on a scale from 0-100. Here we would use mark instead of grade.

Scenario 4. University bachelor's degree.

What degree did you get?
What class of degree did you get in French?

The second seems more formal and the first, although technically ambiguous, would be more usual.

Scenario 5. An examination with some other system. Perhaps the most common of these is the examinations of the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music which assess musical ability. Students get either Pass, Merit or Distinction. Here a complication is that the examinations can be taken at different grades from 1 (easiest) to 8 (hardest) so you would just ask

What did you get?
What did you get at Grade 5?

Note that I use the dialect common in south east England. I believe the same to be true for the UK in general but note that the Scottish educational system is different.

  • The British perspective would use mark and not grade....
    – Lambie
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:38
  • According to you it seems one actually can use present perfect tense when inquiring about someone's grade, like in your Scenario 1. I came across the phrase "What mark have you got for your English?" in one old Soviet textbook of English. I've edited my original post to include this text as presented in earlier and later editions respectively. There are differences between each, specifically related to the phrases I had a concern about.
    – Let
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:40

To the OP: thanks for providing an image of the textbooks in question; it helps make things clearer. As others have pointed out, the use of the word "mark" instead of "grade" implies British English. As an American, I can't really comment on idiomatic British (even though I am familiar with it). So what follows applies to American English.

To me, the different wordings imply slightly different things. Because the wording on the left ("I got a five") is past tense, it implies the student received a grade (or mark) of 5 on an English dictation assignment, although the idiomatic American expression would be "I got a 5 on [an assignment or test]" or "I got a 5 in [a class or subject]", rather than "I got a 5 for [something]". Either way, the implication is that the assignment has been graded and the student's grade was 5.

The wording on the right ("I've got a five") is equivalent to present tense ("I have a five"), so the way I would interpret that is:

  • the student is taking a French class that is still ongoing,
  • the teacher of that class assigns different grades in different subject areas,
  • one of those subject areas is "French dictation",
  • the student's current grade in French dictation is a 5; however, that may change based on how the student performs on future assignments.

To complicate matters a bit, the subsequent paragraph implies that there are also dictation assignments as well as a dictation subject area. So the sentence "I think that Sam will get a two" refers to a specific assignment, rather than the subject area.

However, any native speaker would look at the sentence structure and conclude that this is an elementary textbook, and that such subtleties are probably not intentional and one should not read too much into it.

  • Yes, you've correctly concluded that a dictation is a kind of assignment that a teacher can give to kids during a class. The teacher slowly reads some paragraph and the kids ought to copy that down - this kind of assignment is called dictation and is widespread in Russia. Kids can get grades for their dictations ranging from 2 to 5. So, you say that the idiomatic preposition in AmE would be "on" for such assignments, right? You also show that the idiomatic American expression would be in the past tense. But what about one in the present tense "What mark/grade have you got?"
    – Let
    Jun 27, 2020 at 17:09
  • Yes, in AmE you would use the idomatic "on" when speaking about a specific assignment or test, e.g., "what grade did you get on your dictation assignment?". But the answer is always in the past tense ("I got an A"), not the present tense, since the grade was assigned in the past. You only use present tense with "in" (e.g., "I am getting an A in French"), since you would only use present tense to refer to a grade in a class or subject that you are taking in the present, in other words, one that is still ongoing.
    – Richter65
    Jun 28, 2020 at 5:04
  • To make things explicit, and at the risk of being repetitive,"in" is used to refer to a grade in a subject or class ("I have an A in my French class"), whereas "on" is used for a grade on an assignment or test ("I got an A on my French test").
    – Richter65
    Jun 28, 2020 at 5:16

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