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Telling a friend about another friend,

Yesterday I met John. He told me that he has/had got temporary residence in England.

Which one is appropriate here, has or had?

  • 'had got' may imply that John has changed his residence again. – user51029 Sep 22 '13 at 19:25
  • Use either “has” or “has got” to say he possesses it, but use “has gotten” or “had gotten” to say that he received it. – tchrist Sep 22 '13 at 22:54
  • @tchrist In BE the past participle is got, not gotten. It does cause some ambiguity, because they Brits have also largely adopted the US HAVE got for "possess". – StoneyB Sep 22 '13 at 23:02
  • muhammad, you should modify your sentence to end in temporary residence in the UK. England is one of multiple parts of the UK. – Tristan Sep 24 '13 at 21:51
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I'd go with 'has got'. In formal speech I'd say 'has received'.

"Has got" indicates something that has happened in the recent past, but which is still ongoing. "John has recently got temporary residence in England, and still has it at this time". "Had got" suggests something perhaps in the more distant past, which has now ceased to be the case. "John had got temporary residence in England, but it was cancelled a month ago".

On the other hand, I would say either alternative is acceptable. It is a matter of stylistic preference and avoiding ambiguity.

  • +1, excellent answer, even if I disagree that there is a difference between "had got" and "has got" in reference to the time frame. – user51029 Sep 22 '13 at 19:39
  • ... in fact also for a thing happened one second ago you can use "had got". – user51029 Sep 22 '13 at 19:40
  • ... the difference being that that thing is relevant for the present time or not. – user51029 Sep 22 '13 at 19:45
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It depends on what dialect your speaking and what you're trying to express. Right now, that's ambiguous.

If this is something that happened in the past, then it could be either has gotten (AmE only)/had got (BrE) or has gotten/had got depending on the circumstances and sequence of events.

If he just acquired (past) a new residence, but your not sure when, then it's usually has gotten/has got.

If he acquired a new residence and you want to signal that it was related to another event, then it's had gotten/had got

If you simply want to say that he has or possesses a new residence, then it's has got, in both AmE and BrE. (he's got a new residence)

The major difference is the tense. Strictly speaking, has got can only be used in AmE for the simple present tense (he has). In BrE you can also use the present perfect has got to say that he relocated at some unknown point in the past (he moved); for the present perfect in AmE, it would be gotten. The past perfect had gotten/had got is used more to express a relationship of one event to another in the past. (e.g. Had I known that he'd gotten/got a new residence, I would have sent his birthday card to his new address)

*He told me that he had got(Br)/gotten(Am) a temporary residence of in England.*

Simple present tense is something happening now; present perfect describes an action that happened in the past at an unknown time; and past perfect indicates that something happened in the past before another event in the past sequentially (he told me ... he had got/gotten.

Without knowing what you intend to say, it's impossible for me to tell you which is correct.

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