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Is it correct to say:

I have got a bank account since I was 18?

I think that it is wrong because since implies something that has happened in the past and is still happening, while got is something that has happened and has ended.

My English language teacher says that it is correct.

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    Hi, Nero, and welcome to ELU. You might be interested in ELL, our sister site, which is a good site for basic English questions. The way to indicate something that started in the past and continues for some time (including the present) is the present perfect, "I have had a bank account..." Please see How do the tenses and aspects in English correspond temporally to one another? Thanks! – anongoodnurse Sep 24 '14 at 4:29
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    Related: Difference between "have had" and "having" and please look at the top answer for the following Which is correct "has died" or "died"? – Mari-Lou A Sep 24 '14 at 4:51
  • "I got a new account last year" means I opened a bank account last year. The act of opening an account is fixed in the past. I cannot continue to open a bank account. "I've had (I've got) a new account since last year" means I am still in possession of the account. The act of possession started in the past but continues to the present. – Mari-Lou A Sep 24 '14 at 4:56
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The use of have got with since in this sentence is incorrect for the following reasons:

  • since denotes time duration from past to present, marked by since + fixed past time point. As such, the present perfect tense is appropriate. As in:

They've lived here since 1990

He's been here since the store opened

  • verb phrases using since with the above meaning need to express duration (such as action verbs showing duration, e.g. live/rain/work/play or state verbs, e.g. be/like/love). The verb get in its original meaning expresses short, complete actions - and is synonymous in your example above with obtain, receive, both of which, as short action verbs, are incompatible with the use of since to show duration of state or action.

  • the confusion arises from the evolution of the verb get into the phrasal expression have got, which essentially only has a (n.b.)present tense meaning of have / own / possess. As this refers to the present, it is grammatically incorrect to use as a present perfect with since (even if it looks like it is a present perfect with have+p.p). If you substitute the example with a synonym, it may help exemplify the error

I have obtained a bank account since I was 18 *

  • The obvious correction would be to replace get with a verb showing possession over duration, for which the best choice in my opinion would be have, as in:

I have had a bank account since I was 18 (past to present)

and to finish off, you can state your possession of it now, but without the time expression.

And I have still got the bank account now.(present)

  • In BrE, you can use have got as a present perfect: We have got many letters in the post since last month. where have got = have gotten in AmE. – Lambie May 28 at 18:46
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  • I have got [received] many rude letters in the post recently. [RIGHT, British English]

British, "have got" is the present perfect of get, to receive, here. [verb: get as receive, present perfect in British English, have got, meaning received]

Now, here's the trick: let's say you want to say in AmE the thing about the date with since about a bank account:

You would not use the present prefect here in American English:

I've gotten a bank account since [year]. The PRESENT PREFECT in American English.

Therefore, if you translate that "have gotten" into British English, you also would not use have got, the PRESENT PERFECT of have:

I've got a bank account since [year].

Because in the bank account, you do not want your present perfect to sound like the present perfect of get as in these examples:

I've got so many calls from them recently. Yes, received, BrE.
We've got so much sugar in the past month. Yes, bought, BrE
We've gotten so many calls from them recently. Yes, received, AmE
We've gotten so much sugar in the past month. Yes, bought, AmE.

So, for the bank account, one must say

I've had a bank account since last year.

in both varieties of English, if one does not want to sound like one is saying "get a bank account", as in receive, buy, obtain, etc.

Also, since triggers the present perfect.

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Your teacher is right that I have got a bank account since I was 18 is grammatical but it does mean something different from I have had a bank account since I was 18.

The second sentence means "I opened a bank account when I was 18 and have had one ever since" while the first one means "I was able to open a bank account because I was 18". (This implies that people under 18 cannot have bank accounts).

Your question does not specify the meaning that was intended so it's difficult to say whether the wording was the correct one but, as others have said, "I have got something" always refers to an event or a series of events of acquisition in the past but "I have had something" refers to posession that continued for a long time and, usually, still continues.

Another thing that makes this a bit complicated is that there are two meanings for the word 'since'. The more common meaning is 'for the time that has passed' and is used in sentences like "I have lived in this house since 2008": the other meaning is 'because' or 'as a result of' and is used in sentences like "You are allowed to rent a car since you have a driving licence".

I hope this helps.

  • Shouldn't it be I have got a bank account since I am 18? If it's talking about possession (rather than acquisition), have got is equivalent to present tense. – Peter Shor Apr 27 at 17:49
  • @PeterShor - It could imply simply obtaining a bank account at some point in time subsequent to turning 18. – Hot Licks Apr 27 at 20:58
  • In AmE would you say: I've gotten a bank account since I was 18? I'd say: I have had one since I was 18. – Lambie May 27 at 21:56
  • I have succeeded in getting a bank account because/since I am 18. Or: because/since I turned 18. Not a helpful answer. – aparente001 May 29 at 20:54
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I have had/owned/possesed a bank account since I was 18?

Got is a largely terrible word that should rarely be used.

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    The verb have got is perfectly acceptable and very common in BrEng. And you have not answered the question. You have offered alternatives. – Mari-Lou A Sep 24 '14 at 7:37
  • You gotta be kidding me!! – Hot Licks Apr 27 at 20:56
  • got is a jewel of the English language. – Lambie May 27 at 21:25
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Both have and have got may be used to talk about "possession". Have got is not used in formal written English, and is less common in American English than British English.

Notice that sentence structure is in "present perfect"

I have got ...
Have you got ... ?

and - in British sense- it also denotes "present perfect" action.

So, "I have got a bank account since I was 18" is a correct sentence.

Here is another discussion you may benefit from: Have got” — verb form and tense

protected by tchrist Apr 27 at 3:59

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