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I am aware of the way to use got/gotten in BrE vs AmE. I have come across a phrase which, to my eyes at least, seems one where both can be used (we're talking about AmE now).

He opened his drawer and removed two items. He then came closer and showed me what he'd gotten

Now, following the rule stating that gotten is used when indicating that the subject had acquired/obtained something, the phrase above is obviously correct. But, I was thinking, since we are talking about two items that (in the context) actually belonged to that person (as in, they were in his drawer), would not the form showed me what he'd got also be acceptable?

Note: This question has been marked as a duplicate. It's not, I understand the differences mentioned in the other article. I'm asking about ambiguity - i.e. cases (such as this particular example) where both as possible. Let me try to rephrase the question:

Is it possible to make a subtle difference in meaning as follows?

1) He showed me what he'd got (he showed me the items he had in his drawer)

2) He showed me what he'd gotten (he showed me the items he obtained from his drawer)

marked as duplicate by jimm101, Chenmunka, Mitch, Helmar, curiousdannii Oct 19 '16 at 11:37

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  • 'He was wearing a baseball cap' is acceptable. But it means something different again. I don't know how rigorously the two constructions (using got and gotten) are differentiated in US usage (ie whether they always have the obtain vs possess distinction), but why should either not be available? – Edwin Ashworth Oct 16 '16 at 7:47
  • Not a duplicate. Please refer to my added clarification. – Digital Dracula Oct 16 '16 at 9:45
  • Yes, they're both acceptable. And to me, there's a clear difference in meaning, even if it's not a very big difference. – Peter Shor Oct 16 '16 at 13:28

He opened his drawer and removed two items. He then came closer and showed me what he'd gotten.

To me (AmE speaker), this means "he showed me what he'd gotten out of the drawer," i.e. what he'd removed from the drawer.

I would not say "got" in this sentence. I only say "got" for things like "I've got rhythm" (= I have rhythm) and "I got it!" (= I caught the ball, I found the solution to a puzzle). When I need a past participle, I say "gotten".

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