The US usage of 'got'

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Blue_UK, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. Blue_UK

    Blue_UK Drifting Mind

    One thing that slightly bugs me is the usage, particularly in the US but also here in the UK, of the word 'got'.

    Now for me, 'got' is the past tense of 'get'. However, it seems a lot of people use 'got' as if it were the word 'have'.

    1) "I have a car"
    2) "I got a car"
    3) "I have got a car"

    (From my usage)
    1 indicates that the speaker owns a car - no argument here.

    2 refers to the instance when the car was actually acquired. To me this implies that the car was acquired recently relative to the time the speaker is talking about and the speaker is drawing focus to the actual event of acquisition.

    3 roughly means the same as 1. It actually means 2, but projects the acquisition further in the past.

    "I had got a car" would be the usage of '3' when talking about a instance in the past, where the acquisition of the car was further in the past.

    Does it annoy anyone else when people say 'got' when they clearly mean 'have'?
  2. S.A.M.

    S.A.M. uniquely dreadful

    I got a robe, you got a robe, all God's children got a robe... :)
  3. Oli

    Oli Heute der Enteteich...

    I got rhythm...
  4. Blue_UK

    Blue_UK Drifting Mind

    You got rhythm... when I put you in my long boat and had my cox drum it in to you :p
  5. Nasor

    Nasor Valued Senior Member

    That’s definitely not correct English grammar. The fact that so many people write phrases like that is just another indication that many people have very poor writing skills.
  6. Oli

    Oli Heute der Enteteich...

    "Gotten" always struck me as a worse abuse than "got"...
  7. Blue_UK

    Blue_UK Drifting Mind

    'gotten' is an alternative form

    No, it is. It's normally spoken as 'I've got a car'. You add 'have' before a past tense verb to imply it occurred before something. Obviously both are in the past tense, but one is more past than the other. This matters if you're talking about something that happened in the past relative to something that is already being discussed in the past. For example,
    "I was working on a design when my pencil broke. Luckily, I had bought a spare one earlier that day."

    Version 3 above is legitimate English.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2007
  8. one_raven

    one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper

    Further in the past?
    What are you talking about?

    It sounds to me like it would be a past participle form (of which, I can't think of a proper usage).

    Think of:
    I am.
    I was.
    I have been.

    The past participle tense "have been" is not further in the past than the past tense "was".
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2007
  9. one_raven

    one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper

    Your understanding of past participles is incorrect.
  10. one_raven

    one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper

  11. Blue_UK

    Blue_UK Drifting Mind

    I think you'll find the examples I have given have all been correct English.

    Explaining what you meant specifically would have been easier for the both of us.

    An article I've found supporting my view that even in the US 'got' as 'have' is sloppy:
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2007
  12. Blue_UK

    Blue_UK Drifting Mind

    It is when you render 'have' to 'had'. However, you are right.

    "We have got him in custody now" is more correct than "We got him in custody now", this was my *intended* focus of this thread!
  13. Nasor

    Nasor Valued Senior Member

    That's not how anyone uses it. They say "I have got a car," when what they mean is "I have a car." I realize that to a large extent "correct" usage is determined by consensus and how people are actually using the language, but adding "got" after "have" adds absolutely no meaning to the why use it?
  14. one_raven

    one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper

    You are correct that using "got" as "have" is not just sloppy, but incorrect.
    However, what IS incorrect is your understanding of past participle being "further in the past".
  15. Blue_UK

    Blue_UK Drifting Mind

    Perhaps I have not described as well I should have done.

    "I walked home. I bought a piano." (Both events in the past, assumption is walk occurred first as it is described first)
    "I walked home. I had bought a piano." (Both in past but the purchase is further in the past than the walk)

    (This was a response to a pre-edited post)
    I wrote it to demonstrate how you would correctly use 'got' in a sentence without drawing focus to what is meant by 'got'. In response to your edit, adding the word 'got' adds nothing yes, but still read the previous sentence.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2007
  16. one_raven

    one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper

    That's incorrect.

    Read the wiki page I linked to about Participles.
  17. Blue_UK

    Blue_UK Drifting Mind

    Having read the page, I still don't feel that my previous post is incorrect.

    Could you explain?

    With "He wasn't hungry; he had eaten" it is clear that man had eaten before the time being referenced with "he wasn't hungry".

    Whereas "He ate, drank and wrote poems to entertain his guests" does not imply any ordering. To imply he wrote the poems before one might say "He ate, drank and had written poems to entertain his guests with".

  18. leopold

    leopold i miss my coco.

    i got me some doom wads.
  19. D H

    D H Some other guy

    Have I got news for you. "Have got" is perfectly valid English.
    Definition number 10 of "get" from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
    10 a : HAVE -- used in the present perfect tense form with present meaning <I've got no money> b : to have as an obligation or necessity -- used in the present perfect tense form with present meaning <you have got to come>

    My Webster's Unabridged Dictionary has a very detailed note. Some excerpts:
    HAVE or HAS GOT in the sense of "must" has been in use since the early 19th century. ... The use of HAVE (or HAS) GOT in the sense of "to possess" goes back to the 15th century. ... These uses are occasionally criticized as redundant, ... but they are well established in all varieties of speech and writing. ...
  20. one_raven

    one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper

    What is the proper usage of it?
    Does it mean further back in the past?
    That's all I've got to say about it. :)

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