Reg: What's that you have got Meggie?

Reg: Show us.

Meggie: No, she's mine! I got her for my birthday!

Reg: We just want to have a look.

Reg used the present perfect have got in the first sentence; instead, Meggie used the past tense got.

If Meggie used have got, would the sentence be correct?

  • 6
    You're fine in US English, where have got is a present-tense form meaning possess, whereas got is a past-tense form meaning obtained; present perfect is not employed in referring to a specifically dated past event. Apr 2, 2013 at 16:16

3 Answers 3


It would be incorrect for Meggie to use have got instead of got, both semantically and grammatically. First, note that when Reg says “What's that you have got?”, he means “What do you have?”, or “What are you holding?”. On the other hand, when Meggie says got she means received. Second, Meggie could grammatically (but wordily) say “I have gotten her for my birthday”. In this context, “I have got her for my birthday” seems wrong to my American ear.

Regarding American English vs British, if I heard “What's that you have got?” I'd imagine the speaker to be using BE. From an AE speaker I would expect to hear any of “What have you got?”, “What've you got?”, “What do you have there?”, “What is it you've got there?”, “What's that you've got there?”, etc, ie you after have in some cases; have without got; a filler there; different contractions.

  • 1
    Both "gotten" and "got" are past participles of the verb "get",I found in google Dictioanry,if “I have gotten her for my birthday” is correct then why "have got" is wrong.
    – Amish Aa
    Apr 2, 2013 at 17:49
  • 1
    @amishAa: British English - got is past participle of get; American English - gotten is past participle. BUT in American English "have got" = "have" with more emphasis on possession. Whereas "have gotten" = "have obtained."
    – hunter
    Jan 2, 2014 at 18:32
  • One would not use "have got" in BrE for a single thing received at one time. In BrE and AmE, if you received a present, it would be: I got it for my birthday.
    – Lambie
    Sep 18, 2020 at 16:18

Have, and have got mean "to own, hold or possess something."

He had a new car and a boat.
Have you got a job yet?

Get means "to receive something; to obtain something."

The answer given by Meggie is perfectly fine, and I would understand it as "I obtained her for my birthday."


Another discussion from ELU https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/5531/difference-between-i-have-got-and-i-have-gotten

In my opinion, its usage is too complicated for a word that can often be substituted with a better one. Also the spoken usage sounds strange or incorrect in some cases.

So rather than say

What's that you have got Meggie?
No, she's mine! I got her for my birthday!

why not say

What's that you have received Meggie?
No, she's mine! I received her for my birthday!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .