Are the following 2 sentences correct?

  1. Have the phone interviews gotten under way?
  2. Have the phone interviews got under way?

My question is, is it correct to use "got/gotten" with "under way"?

Or should it be: Are the phone interviews under way?

Cheers, Chris

  • You can say it any of those ways. In AmE, "have gotten" is the preferred present perfect. Personally, I would use "are they underway" to ask if an interview is occurring at this moment, and "have gotten underway" to ask if the first one had begun (or finished), without regard to whether an interview is occurring at this moment. (As there are to be multiple interviews, they might be separated by considerable time.) – Brian Hitchcock Sep 7 '15 at 8:26

'Have ... got underway' is wrong in any even semi-formal context. 'Have gotten underway' is idiomatic.

[Note that I only say this with certainty about American English.]

  • This is only true in American English – Tim Lymington Sep 7 '15 at 23:20
  • @TimLymington, okay. I looked around as a result of your comment, and it appears you're expressing a consensus. The question seems to have come up repeatedly on this forum, and it has received a variety of answers, including different answers from the same people. The problem for me is that the answers seem directed toward 'have got' with a possessive sense, and I'm not seeing that clear distinction between BrE and AmE for the "have of the perfect" (as Lawler puts it), which is what we have here. – JEL Sep 8 '15 at 8:21
  • You may be interested in this frequency comparison. books.google.com/ngrams/… – chasly - supports Monica Sep 8 '15 at 8:28
  • Gotten is not idiomatic in British English, whatever the context. The OED says it is "rare, except in ill-gotten": I myself, in quite a wide experience, have never seen it save as an Americanism or other dialect – Tim Lymington Sep 8 '15 at 9:42

Meaning from OED:

Having started and in progress; being done or carried out:


Have the phone interviews gotten under way? This is colloquial English

Have the phone interviews got under way? This is incorrect

The right usage is:

Are the phone interviews under way?

Usage examples from OED:

recruitment is well under way

The project is already under way, with work due to be completed by early next year.

At one end of this area, a massive building project has been underway for the best part of 20 years.

The doctors' surgery will house five GPs, and moves are underway to recruit a sixth.

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