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The Present Perfect Tense (#7), by Dennis Oliver

 

The Present Perfect Tense #7:
Has Got and Have Got

 

The idioms has got and have got seem to be present
perfect tense: they use has and have and these forms
are followed by a past participle (one of the two past
participles of get--got and gotten). These two related
idioms are not present perfect, however. Instead, they're
actually simple present tense and are conversational
equivalents of has and have:

He's got red hair. = He has red hair.

Have you got a dollar? = Do you have a dollar?

They've got two children. = They have two children.

You've got mail! = You have mail!

I haven't got time. = I don't have time.

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Has got and have got are also used to make a variation
of has to / have to: has got to and have got to. These
variations are almost always contracted:

He's got to leave early. = He has to leave early.

We've got to go. = We have to go.

They've got to hurry. = They have to hurry.

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Got to is usually pronounced something like "gotta,"
but this is a spoken form and is not acceptable in
most writing:

Written Form     Spoken Form

He's got to leave early.

We've got to go.

They've got to hurry.

 

*He's gotta leave early.

*We've gotta go.

*They've gotta hurry.

Also, 've (the contraction of have) in I / you / we / they
have got to is often omitted--so it sounds something
like this:

Written Form     Spoken Form

I've got to hurry!

You've got to help me!

We've got to try harder!

They've got to tell us!

 

*I gotta hurry.

*You gotta help me!.

*We gotta try harder

*They gotta tell us!

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Special Notes

1.  

The verb get has two past participles--got and
gotten. In American English, got is used to make
the expressions has / have got and has / have
got to; gotten is used to make present perfect:

He's got a new car. ( = present )

He's gotten a new car. ( = present perfect)

I've got a headache right now.
( = present )

I've gotten a headache four times this week.
( = present perfect)

They've got permission to leave early.
( = present )

They've gotten permission to leave early.
( = present perfect )

     
2.  

Because has / have got and has / have got to
are not present perfect, they cannot be used with
present perfect time expressions:

not this:
He's got a new car every two years.

but this:
He's gotten a new car every two years.

not this:
She's got the flu since last Thursday.

but this:
She's had the flu since last Thursday.

not this:
We've got to work late three times last week.

but this:
We had to work late three times last week.

     
3.   The expressions has / have got and has / have
got to are informal. They shouldn't be used in
formal writing and they should also be avoided
in formal speaking. For formal situations, use
has / have and must.
     
4.  

In casual speech, 've is often omitted in
've got to ("gotta"), but 's is not omitted in
's got to ("'s gotta"):

commonly heard:
I / you / we / they gotta leave right away.

strange:
???
He / she gotta leave right away.

Remember that "gotta" is a spoken form
and is used in only the most casual writing
(for example, comics and informal letters
to close friends).

     
5.  

The expressions has / have got to (has / have to)
and get to (be allowed to / be permitted to) are
not the same:

I've got to go. = I have to / must go.

I got to go. = I was permitted to go.

She's got to stay up late. = She has to / must
stay up late.

She gets to stay up late. = She's allowed to /
permitted to stay up late.

The expression get to is not contracted to *gotta.

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