I have done a bad classification of the oral use of these expressions. Been the most used 1 and the less 5.

What is the most used in spoken American English?

  1. I gotta
  2. I got to
  3. I've gotta
  4. I've got to
  5. I have to
  6. I have got to
  • 4
    They're all the same. The difference between them only exists in written English. In spoken English people choose among various shades of the morphemes, instant by instant. There is no sharp distinction between pronunciations; only between spellings. Sep 13, 2014 at 4:40
  • Perhaps the question could be rephrased as "Which shades of morphemes are most commonly chosen?" Pronunciation is on-topic.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 13, 2014 at 8:53
  • 1
    One more comment: you omitted I hafta from your list. Sep 13, 2014 at 13:30
  • One could go on with eye spellings all day. They don't refer to anything in language, only in the spelling habits of the writers. Sep 13, 2014 at 14:05
  • 1
    There are thousands of possible pronunciations of that modal complex, and not just six or seven. Asking "Which pronunciation is most commonly used?" when presenting misspelled examples instead of phonetic representations is silly. Spose we misspelled a few more and added them to the list -- how would anybody know what sounds they were sposta be referring to? It's just impossible to discuss pronunciation in a silent medium without some basic knowledge of phonetics. Sep 13, 2014 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


The phrase "I have got to" is often used with emphasis on 'got' to express either greater desire, or possibly sarcasm.

For example, "I love your new iPhone. I have GOT to get one."

Versus: "The new iPhone sucks. I have GOT to get one."

  • This is true of many idioms, and stress forms yet another dimension of variation in speech, not capturable in writing. Sep 13, 2014 at 14:08

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