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I read an article about the difference between get and have. There is a explanation:

This is a major difference between the two verbs ‘have’ and ‘get’. The verb ‘get’ gives the meaning of ‘acquire’ as in the sentence ‘I want to get it now’. The sentence actually means ‘I want to acquire it now’. On the other hand the verb ‘have’ gives the meaning of ‘own’ as in the sentence ‘I want to have it right now’. The sentence actually means ‘I want to own it right now’.

However, I don't still understand it because I don't know the difference between two sentences: "I want to acquire it now" and "I want to own it right now".

What's the difference between the two sentences?


sorry! I supposed that my question might be unclear. I know the meaning of the word acquire and own and the difference, definitely. But I don't know the difference 'want to acquire' and 'want to own' If you were a native speaker, you might not understand how I can't understand the difference between 'want to acquire' and 'want to own' although I know the difference between acquire and own. But in my first language, there is no difference between 'want to acquire' and 'want to own(or have)'. That's the reason I have a trouble to get it.

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    What research have you done? Did you look up acquire and own in a dictionary? – Peter Shor May 19 '14 at 9:38
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    I acquired a car last night. Trouble is I don't own it, and now the cops are on my tail. – Wayfaring Stranger May 19 '14 at 12:13
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Simply put, the verb 'acquire' represents an action - that of obtaining - and the verb 'own' represents a state - that of possession.

'I want to acquire it now' focuses on the immediate impulse to obtain the desired object, be that by grabbing, stealing, or buying.

'I want to own it now' focuses on the desired state of possessing the object after it has been obtained, with no focus on the act involved in acquiring, only the satisfaction of possession.

  • Right. Acquire is active, own is stative. Acquire can be used in the imperative and the progressive, both of which require an active predicate: Acquire that company immediately! She is gradually acquiring all the mineral rights in the area. These would be ungrammatical with own. That's the biggest difference. – John Lawler May 19 '14 at 14:23
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To acquire something - To achieve or get something

To own something - To possess or have something

Lets get it further cleared up with the help of an example.

I want to acquire programming skills

The above sentence depicts the desire of the person to learn or get programming skills.

I want to have programming skills.

The above sentence depicts the desire of the person to have or own programming skills.

So if we put them sequence, First we acquire a particular object or skill and then we own or have it.

I want to acquire a driving licence. (And fter I get one, it becomes) I own a driving license

  • I understand your explanation fully. but can you give me some examples of object not skill. like 'I want to acquire a house.' – esllearner May 19 '14 at 11:09
  • @esllearner "I want to acquire a house" - Here I express my desire to get/purchase one. "I have a house" - Here I already possess a house after acquiring it somehow. – Invoker May 19 '14 at 11:12
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Owning something, or having something means that it is in your possession. Acquiring something, or getting something means that it is not in your possession yet, but you are in the process of transferring it to your possession.

I will get some apples. => I do not have them yet, but I will go to the store and exchange some money in return for apples.

I have some apples. => I am in possession of apples. Maybe I bought them, may be I grew them, maybe someone gave them to me.

In general, having something is the result of getting it.

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Consider the two phrases:

  1. I want to own a dog.
  2. I want to acquire a dog.

Although both phrases have the same end result (having a dog), they are putting their focus in different places. The first phrase focuses on the state of actually having the dog, while the second focuses on the method of getting the dog.

  • Thanks! Are there any situations you should say 'want to acquire' instead of 'want to own' or vice versa? Can you give me some examples. – esllearner May 19 '14 at 10:31

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