Am I the only one to recognize the grammatical nightmare of the much overused verb combination "have got?" The word "got" has several meanings:

acquired possession of
et cetera...

What it certainly does not mean, is "have" -- even when in combination with the verb "to have." Even if "got" did somehow take on the meaning "have," would it not be redundant to then say "have got?"

However, most people do seem to use it in that sense. That, or to mean "must" when used in the form "have got to."

Not only do the words "have got" have no meaning in the context they are normally used in, they have no meaning whatsoever. "Have got" could be taken to mean "have received;" however, in this case "got" would be the wrong form of the past tense of "to get." The proper way to write or say it in that context would be "have gotten."

How did it start? Well first off, in the time since I originally wrote this node, I've come to the conclusion that saying "I got" is, in fact, correct. Why? Because saying something like "I got a hat" means that I have recently come into possession of the hat, which implies that I do indeed have the hat at the moment. I'm not actually saying that I have a hat - I'm saying that I did get a hat; but since I haven't said that I acquired and lost my hat, or had my hat taken, one can assume from the statement "I got a hat," that I have a hat. People who make a point of saying "I have got" would, however, look down their noses at those saying simply "I got." 'Why?' you may or may not ask. Because saying just "I got" sounds infantile, does it not? So people invented this redundant, pseudo-past perfect verb combination to sound more refined than the scum of the Earth who make up the lower class. I don't honestly think that of lower class folk, but the people to whom I am referring are the middle class of a century or so ago. Since then, the same mentality has persisted in most people... Don't you hate how that's always the case?

In conclusion:
-"Have got" is idiocy created by bourgeois trying to appear more learned
-"Got" is acceptable, if only indirectly
-"Got to" (and "have to") is nonsensical drivel

Thank you and good night.

Have you got good English?

I actually had to research this topic for a grammar and style class a few years ago. Fun times, those.

I hate this construction and I was bound and determined to prove that people who use it are numskulls, but unfortunately most usage guides, new and old, take its side as an informal idiom that adds emphasis. “There is not much difference between the verb have, meaning possess, and the verb get, meaning acquire, and the two are often used interchangeably or together for emphasis.”1 Many guides dislike the phrase, but they claim that it's inappropriate only in formal writing.

Its development came about because have was increasingly used as an auxiliary verb (what have you been smoking?), which weakened its ability to denote possession2 (I have more stories about trains for you). It was criticized in American English in the late 19th and early 2oth centuries. Britain jumped on the bandwagon in the mid-1900s even though it was much more popular there, and then it became accepted again in America around the same time.3


1. Evans, Bergen, and Cornelia Evans. A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage. New York: Random House, 1957. Print.

2. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage. Springfield, Mass: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 1994. Print.

3. “Is ‘Have Got’ Acceptable English?” Grammar Girl. Holtzbrinck Publishers Holding, Inc., 01 Aug. 2008. Web.

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