I was taught that ‘have got’ means 'possess, own, or hold' and you can also use ‘have’

[Present Simple]

I have got a car./I have a car

I haven't got a car./I don't have a car

Have I got a car?/Do I have a car?

For the rest of tenses it must be used ‘have’ [Past Simple]

I had a car.

I didn't have a car.

Did I have a car?

[Present Perfect]

I have had a car.

I haven't had a car

Have I had a car?

When I started learning the simple past and present perfect. I knew a lot. I heard a song called ‘I got a car’ by George Strait. I recognize that 'got' is past simple.

[Present Simple]

I get a car

[Past Simple]

I got a car

If I make it in Present Perfect. It will be... [Present Perfect]

I have GOT a car (I tried to give emphasis in GOT)

Now my confusion is. How can I talk about getting something that is intended, requested, or desired (the verb get) in present perfect? If ‘have got’ is reserved for possession, belonging or inclusion, with the direct object.

I have got a car. (In thr context of possesion, belonging or inclusion)

I have got a car. (Present Perfect of 'I get a car')

-- English isn't my first language. (I'm sorry if you see a mistake) I asked that in another forum and I didn't get it.

  • @Karlomanio Get has two equally correct past participles: got and gotten. They are not usually interchangeable, though in some cases they are. Generally, only got is used when the sense is one of possession (have got = have, possess); in BrE, gotten is most common when referring to obtaining, while in AmE, the two are more evenly split in this sense. But it is certainly not true that got is not formally correct – it is, and there are cases where using gotten would be ungrammatical (“You’ve gotten me there!”, “They’ve gotten the killer at last”). Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 20:56
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Thanks for pointing that out. I see I need to explore this question more. I'm going to go ahead and delete my previous comment.
    – Karlomanio
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 20:58
  • @JanusBahsJacquet So.. I have gotten a car. (in the sense of 'come to have [something]'; receive; acquire; obtain; gain; earn.) |||| I have got a car. (in the sense of possess, own, or hold.) Is that?
    – Tinska
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 21:04
  • @Tinska Yes, exactly. In many cases the two end up being almost synonymous (having acquired a car implies now having it), except for a nuance in meaning emphasising the process of obtaining it or the state of currently owning it. But some cases are unexpected – when get means ‘catch, apprehend’ (like how the police get criminals), you’d only use got, never gotten, even though ‘catch’ is more like ‘acquire’ than ‘have’. Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 21:07
  • Not sure what is your issue. "I have got a car" means "I have a car now; I did not have it some unspecified time ago, but now I have it, it does not matter when exactly I got it". It means possession.
    – Rusty Core
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


This answer is from an American English perspective. British English differs slightly.

The present perfect tense is formed by combining the present tense of to have with the past participle of the main verb.

I have eaten
You have seen
She has done
We have known
You have been
They have taken

To put I get a car into the present perfect, add the present form of have, and use the past participle of get:

I have gotten a car.

In colloquial American English, we often use I've got to mean I have. We rarely, if ever say, "I have got." That is, the have/has is virtually always contracted to 've or 's (as in, he's got). In informal conversation, American English speakers will often drop the helper verb (the have), so that I've got becomes I got. Some dialects will drop the 's from he's/she's got, becoming, he/she got, but this is less common.

Now, if it's possible to drop the 've from I've got a car, how do we differentiate between I['ve] got a car (meaning, I have a car) and I got a car (meaning, I acquired a car)?

The only way to recognize the difference is from the context. In this song, the phrase is slightly ambiguous, but since it seems like the singer has only just met the woman he's speaking to, it's unlikely that he would tell her that he had acquired a car at some undefined point in the past. So he's probably telling her that he has a car. If they knew each other, and she had previously told him to get a car, his "I got a car" would probably mean I acquired a car.

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