Is 'gotten' the past tense form of 'got' or is there even a word gotten?

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  • Thank you.. Can you answer my one more doubt.? – Shonima Nandakumar Dec 14 '14 at 15:29
  • Got is the past tense of get. Gotten is the American past participle of get. (And got is the British past participle of get.) – Peter Shor Dec 14 '14 at 15:30
  • He said, "I got this book yesterday" when we change this into reported speech he said that he had got /he got that book the previous day? – Shonima Nandakumar Dec 14 '14 at 15:32
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    In AmE, "I got this book yesterday" would change into "he said he had gotten this book the previous day". In BrE, gotten is not used. – Peter Shor Dec 14 '14 at 15:33

Got is already a past tense. It is the past of 'get'. I got some bread at the shop, tells of something that happened in the past.

Got is both a past tense and a past participle. In its past participle form, I have got a blue car, got signifies possession - I am in possession of a blue car

Thus far all of the above is the same both in Britain and America.

Where got refers to the process of acquisition, in the perfect and pluperfect Americans say I have just gotten a copy from the library, whilst we would use got. This also applies in reported speech She told me she had gotten married versus British She told me she had got married.

When it comes to direct reporting of acquisition, where Americans will say: Since we last met I have gotten anew car, British will often avoid got altogether and say something like: Since we last met I have acquired/bought/obtained a new car.

  • Could you please explain my reported speech doubt in the comment above? I want to know whether got /had got is used. – Shonima Nandakumar Dec 14 '14 at 16:05
  • Yes. In the reported case Americans would use gotten. He told me that he had gotten the book yesterday. In Britain we would use got in that instance. And this needs to be added to my reply above - i.e. the reported speech case. – WS2 Dec 14 '14 at 16:09
  • I understood about the got part I want to know whether its:he said that he had got the book or is it :he said that he got the book? – Shonima Nandakumar Dec 14 '14 at 16:12
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    It should probably be noted that not even the English have forgotten “ill-gotten gains” and other similar misbegotten variants, such as when Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote in Maud ɪ. ɪᴠ. iii: “Your father has wealth well-gotten, and I am nameless and poor.” Another only-remembered-in-America ‑en word is the relic form store-boughten which opposes home-made and is preserved now only in certain regional dialects but was once more widespread and even standard. – tchrist Dec 14 '14 at 16:35
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    Whilst in Britain the form shop-bought used to be used, but has mostly disappeared. But store-boughten is interesting. I had not previously heard that. – WS2 Dec 14 '14 at 16:58

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