I know "I had had to eat burger" is the "past perfect tense" and "I had to eat burger" is "simple past tense" and we normally not use "got" in the same sentence structure as in "I had got to eat burger" but if i use "got", Would the sentence be considered "past perfect tense" or " simple past tense"?

  • The phrase "I had got to eat" is bad grammar, and it's not clear what you mean. Is it supposed to be the past of "I have got to eat", as in, "I need to eat", or the past perfect of "I have gotten to eat", as in, "I have been able to eat"?
    – gotube
    Feb 6, 2022 at 3:22
  • May i know If americans say "I have got to eat" or "I have gotten to eat"? (As in present perfect) Feb 10, 2022 at 17:41
  • North Americans (I'm Canadian) say, "I have got to eat" to mean "I need to eat". "I have gotten to eat" is also a possible but uncommon sentence that means something like, "I have been able to eat"
    – gotube
    Feb 10, 2022 at 19:04
  • @gotube Do you not think "I have gotten to eat" means I have had the opportunity to eat. Note that this is the past tense now—we are describing an opportunity that existed at one point in the past. So how could " I have gotten to eat" =" I have been able to eat"? Feb 10, 2022 at 19:17
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    The opportunity -- I actually ate the burger
    – gotube
    Feb 10, 2022 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


I think that you are asking two different questions. The first is whether you can use the "to have" + "got" construction in different tenses:

Past: I had got to . . .
Present: I have got to . . .
Future: I will have got to . . .

The answer is no, the past and future versions are not normally used. Only the present version ("I have got to . . .") is used, and even then it is considered quite informal (as you point out).

The second question I think you are asking is whether this would be considered the simple present tense or present perfect tense. You might get some different opinions about this, but because it follows the typical structure for the perfect aspect ("to have" + past participle), I would describe this as present perfect. (Note that "gotten" is the more usual past participle of "to get", but "got" is used exclusively in this construction.)

Finally, your sentence is missing a determiner for burger. It should be:

"I have got to eat a burger." (Or "that burger", "my burger", etc.)

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    The verb form "to get to do something" - meaning that an opportunity arose to do something, e.g. I got to go to the party (used much more in America than the UK) can easily become confused with the adverbial "got" e.g I have got to go to the party. They mean two entirely different things. If you try to use the former with one of the perfect tenses it is indistinguishable from the latter. Americans overcome this by using the participle "gotten". We in Britain never do. We only use that form if it is for something special. "I had got to see the President" has two quite different meanings.
    – WS2
    Jan 4, 2022 at 7:54
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    @BilalZafar In the U.S., "I have got to go to the party" means "I have to go to the party" (present time). "I have gotten to go to the party" means "I have been able to go to the party" (present perfect). Feb 10, 2022 at 18:23
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    @ MarcinManhattan Thank you. All cleared now :) Feb 10, 2022 at 18:26
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    @BilalZafar I saw the comment on the other question (ell.stackexchange.com/questions/309358/…), and I agree that randomhead's interpretation is better than mine. I.e., "I have had the opportunity to go to the party" better describes the meaning than "I have been able to go to the party". Feb 10, 2022 at 20:20
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    @BilalZafar "I got to go to the party" means "I had the opportunity to go to the party". It doesn't necessarily mean that you went. Feb 11, 2022 at 20:26

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