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Difference between “I have got” and “I have gotten”

In this example, my teacher thinks it should be got, but I feel like gotten is better:

I shouldn't have got / gotten married.

Which one is correct?

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Barrie England, Hellion, aedia λ, StoneyB Jan 28 '13 at 19:42

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  • 4
    It depends on which dialect you speak. They're both correct. I think one is more frequent in British English and the other in American, but I can't remember which. I use both forms without noticing which. – user21497 Jan 28 '13 at 7:00
  • 2
    Gotten would rarely be found in British English in this context. – Barrie England Jan 28 '13 at 7:52
  • 1
    This may be relevant: english.stackexchange.com/questions/5531/… – Barrie England Jan 28 '13 at 10:20
  • @BillFranke: I'm not surprised to see you weigh in here. Aren't you somewhat of an expert on this subject? ;^) – J.R. Jan 28 '13 at 10:29
  • 2
    I remember being told that "have gotten" was wrong in school (Northern Irish, so what was considered the "correct" form in the textbooks would generally be closer British than American, and often were British texts). On the one hand this backs up what @BarrieEngland says, but on the other hand, if nobody was ever using it, they wouldn't have bothered telling us not to. – Jon Hanna Jan 28 '13 at 10:31

NOAD has this usage note:

USAGE As past participles of get, the words got and gotten both date back to Middle English. In North American English, got and gotten are not identical in use. Gotten usually implies the process of obtaining something ( : he has gotten two tickets for the show), while got implies the state of possession or ownership ( : he hasn’t got any money).

That usage note may describe a difference, but it doesn't say much about usage with the word married. Is marriage the process of obtaining something? Or does it imply a state of possession? (One could wryly answer that this might depend on the local culture and marriage traditions.)

I'm inclined to agree with the teacher, although it seems like the simplest solution may be to drop the got/gotten altogether. "Get married" seems almost like a phrasal verb; i.e.:

We will get married next June.

is essentially the same as:

We will marry next June.

so the speaker could just as well say:

I never should have married.

  • I'm pretty sure that standard American usage is gotten here, but from Ngrams, got was usually used in writing a century ago, and I believe many Americans use got. – Peter Shor Jan 28 '13 at 12:13

"I shouldn't have got married when I wasn't ready for it" "I shouldn't have got married on such a wet day", etc'. These are the more common usage with that one. 'I shouldn't have gotten married' is used when the sentence ends there.

  • Indeed it ends there. Many thanks for clear explanation. :) – user36586 Jan 28 '13 at 6:53
  • 2
    I think that needs some more explanation. I wouldn't say just got in any of those examples. – Jim Jan 28 '13 at 7:18
  • amanda witt, your answer would be improved if you mentioned where in the world the word got, is more common. In England and the rest of the UK, gotten is normally only used when people say ill-gotten or forgotten. Using it in your example, would be something that speakers of American English, do. – Tristan r Apr 4 '14 at 17:23

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