The British discontinued the usage of "gotten" around 300 years ago while the Americans retained its use. "Have gotten" in AmE is therefore preferably to "have got". What is then the difference between have gotten/have got and have got?

In American English, the past participle of “get” in its literal sense of “receive” or “become” is usually “gotten”. In the sense of “must” or “have”, the past participle is always “got”.


But I don't understand the distinction between gotten / got (especially since Americans use have gotten for how the British say "have got"--where in British English the past participle of "get" is only "got".)

Take these for example:

  1. I have never gotten a gift. (= I have never received a gift.)

  2. I’ve gotten interested in chess. (= I’ve become interested in chess.)

  1. She’s got five children. (= She has five children)
  2. I’ve got to go now. (= I must go now.)

If we take the definition of "got" as in to mean "must" or "have", then I would disagree with number 3 as surely you can have five children as you would in number 1? As in to possess or not to possess "a gift". Although, I admit it would be weird to say that you own a child "I have gotten 5 children" (as in to be in possession or ownership of them), but would surely be accepted, although controversial, if the person had just "adopted" five children? There is no distinction in BrE as there would be in AmE, take these for example:

  1. I have got five children
  2. I have got five presents

Would British people consider number 6's use of "got" in the sense of to have or possess as colloquial or incorrect, as would Americans?

My question is not the difference between the usage in American English but highlights that there is no difference in British English. I'm looking for guidance particularly which version would be "correct"--the American or British version, namely example 6) I have got five presents or I have gotten five presents. And again, would British people consider example 6, colloquial or incorrect?

In UK English, "have got" is the only grammatical possibility. In US English, there is no situation where you could grammatically substitute one for the other without changing the meaning. So there is a difference, although it blurs when you combine US and UK English.
– Peter Shor
Oct 28 '11 at 13:31
@ Difference between "I have got" and "I have gotten" (SE)

  • 1
    @Jason Bassford My Q is not about the difference within AmE, it addresses that there is no difference in BrE. This is especially highlighted in the last paragraph "Would British people..." I'm talking about which usage is correct here--the American or British version.
    – user304396
    Jun 23, 2018 at 3:14
  • 4
    How can there be a correct one outside of its locale?
    – tchrist
    Jun 23, 2018 at 3:20
  • 2
    @tchirst Because there is this American vs British usage notion which all the other answers on here conform to when this has been asked before. The usage between the two forms is not as consistent or distinct as one would think. For example, in some varieties of British English, they do say 'gotten' (Liverpool dialect) and 'got' and 'gotten' are used interchangeably - whether influenced by Liverpool people or exposure to American speech, I'm not sure. But I believe this to be non-standard rather than "UK English".
    – user304396
    Jun 23, 2018 at 3:32
  • 2
    If there is "no difference" in the UK, then how can you ask which usage is correct? That's like saying, "We only eat hamburgers here—but if we were presented with a hot dog, how should we choose between them?") Jun 23, 2018 at 13:20
  • 1
    PLEASE DO NOT CLOSE THIS QUESTION. I am currently weeding through 18th–19th c. grammars tracing the standardization of got as p.part. since that's what this question is really about, not usage.
    – KarlG
    Jun 23, 2018 at 13:50


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