"I have" can be contracted to "I've" when the "have" word is used followed by an action or experience. For example, "I have been there" can be contacted to "I've been there"

Is the same valid for the "have" word denoting possession? For example, Can "I have a pen" be contacted to "I've a pen"?

I've seen usages like "I've got a pen" for "I have got a pen" and I suppose that is correct anyway. But what about when there's no "got" ?

  • The perfect auxiliary "have" is sometimes used in its contracted form '-ve, as in "I've seen it", "I've been to Egypt"; "I've got a new car". It is found less often with lexical "have" (meaning possession) as in "I've a new girlfriend" or "I've a chest infection".
    – BillJ
    Jan 29, 2017 at 11:31

2 Answers 2


In US English, this usage is not very common, but it certainly occurs. For example, "I've a book of American history" in Evergreen, 2009. According to Google n-gram viewer, the usage with "a book" enjoyed much more popularity from around 1910 until about 1930. Other collocations (e.g., "I've a proposition" and "I've a job") show somewhat different patterns, but also with greater frequency in various decades around the middle of the last century and a drop-off after that.


It is not valid in American English. Usage of I've in a sentence without a verb (or) Using it only to assign possession is invalid.

I've a pain in my neck.

but can sound normal with a verb.

'I've got a pain in my neck.'

But in the British sense it is "Valid". Contraction is "valid" with a non-auxiliary 'have' in British English. But it sounds weird, generally avoided.


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