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So when I think I heard an American said “I got (something)”, actually he/she said “’ve” after the “I” and it’s present perfect? And this is the time where present perfect should be used? And then it's not really possession but is more about acquirement, right?

(I’ve learned from Swan’s Practical English Usage (237.5-7) that it’s British English that says 'have got' and that is double form of have and means just exactly ‘have’ to mean possession and this is not present perfect but present tense. (No wonder I’ve been confused..))

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    There's a big difference, and that is frequency. See the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English (Biber et al 1999). – snailboat May 14 '15 at 8:11
  • Unfortunately my local public library doesn't have that book. Frequency.. PEU also says 'have got' is used more often in BrE than AmE and in America it's more of "very informal speech", but I think I hear a lot from Americans. Are they actually something else or those are the "very informal speech"? I don't really remember well where I've heard those though.. maybe in movies or TV dramas? or on the net.. maybe not in offices..? – karlalou May 18 '15 at 19:45
  • AmE and BrE speakers both say have got fairly often. But BrE speakers say it 5x as often; when AmE speakers will often say "I don't have any", BrE speakers will more likely say "I haven't got any." There's a lot more to write, so maybe later if I get a chance I'll type up some more of what Biber et al have to say. – snailboat May 19 '15 at 5:41
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When American born, bred, raised, etc. singer-songwriter Edward Joseph Mahoney sings

I've got two tickets to paradise (youtube link)

(Compare: I've got two tickets in my pocket)

he means:

I possess two tickets to paradise

not

I have acquired two tickets to paradise

which in AmE would usually be expressed as

I've gotten two tickets to paradise. (AmE present perfect)

whereas in BrE it would usually be expressed as

I've got two tickets to paradise. (BrE present perfect and 'double form of have')

Typical BrE usage of I've got as present perfect:

I've got Pippet a new jumper, think she'll like it?

(In AmE, we would say I've gotten Pippet a new sweater.)

Now you should know that I've got can mean I possess in both BrE and AmE.

The Beatles provide an example of BrE in I've got a feeling, while another two of many many American uses are those of Frank Sinatra in I've got you under my skin and Garth Brook's (I've got) friends in low places (1:13 etc).


Note that in both BrE and AmE, I've got can also express obligation, as in

I've got to clean my room before I can go to the concert.

  • Thanks. :) Now I understand 'have got' means 'have' in both BrE and AmE. Then.. how about "I got it"? Is that supposed to be "I've gotten it" or it's literal meaning is "I have it" but in some reason it's used to mean "I come to have it" or "I've understood it"? – karlalou May 18 '15 at 19:14
  • I got it can be (a) simple past tense of I get it (I got this sweater for you yesterday) and (b) I've got it (present tense) without the 've, and it can mean anything 'I've got it' means: 'I possess', 'I understand', or 'I have it (under control)'. – user6951 May 19 '15 at 1:57
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The word "have" is a stative verb, a dynamic verb, and an auxiliary.

As a stative verb, it implies to own or possess. When you form affirmative sentences to convey this sense, there's no difference in its use in BE and AE. You can use either have or have got. For example, he has (got) a new car. Of course, the sentence is in the present simple, not in the present perfect. The only difference between have and have got is that the use of the former, though also used in informal English, is formal. You usually use "have got" in informal English.

However, when it comes to forming sentences in the negative or interrogative, you can use either have/have got in BE. For example: Has he got a car/Does he have a car? He hasn't got a car or he doesn't have a car. On the other hand, it's almost usual to use have without got in AE. For example: Does he have a car? He doesn't have a car.

As for the use of the auxiliary "have" with got to form sentences in the perfect tenses to imply to acquire, earn, or obtain, you can use "have got" in BE. For example, He has just got a job. But in AE, you usually use "gotten" as the past participle. For example, He has just gotten a job. However, it's also right to say "He just got a job".

  • Thanks. I just can't decide on which to be the best answer. :) Well.. meanwhile.. Is "I got a bargain" the same case as "He just got a job" and can be also said as "I've gotten a bargain"? How about "I got it"? Is this also the same case? Or is "I got it" means possession? I feel like people say it to mean an acquirement, but no? – karlalou May 18 '15 at 19:34

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