I see these two expressions are used almost identically in different contexts. Is there a difference between I have got and I have gotten?

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    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. Commented Oct 28, 2011 at 13:31
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    "I have got" sounds unusual. It's usually contracted: "I've got". "I have got to get out of this place" is the exception.
    – endolith
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 13:47
  • @endolith Notice that in formal written text you never use contractions, therefore you cannot make a distinction based on whether or not something is contracted. Contractions are slangs of speech, not language constructs.
    – gented
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 14:50

5 Answers 5


In general, "have got" is the present perfect form of "to get" in UK English, while "have gotten" is the US English version.

However, even in US English, "have got" is used in certain instances, namely to mean present tense have (in the sense of possession, or to mean must):

  • I have got a lot of friends. (=I have a lot of friends)
  • I have got to go now. (=I have to go now/I must go now)
  • Is "I've to go now" and "I've a lot of friends" considered grammatical?
    – Pacerier
    Commented May 13, 2012 at 21:34
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    @Kosmonaut I'd say that in those two examples, got is actually being used as an intensifier and not as a past-tense verb. In the first example, you can even use gotten instead and the meaning would change to something like "I went from not having many friends to having many."
    – Jez
    Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 9:38
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    @Pacerier: They're both "grammatical" (whatever that means), but they're not interchangeable with the full forms in all contexts. Bear in mind the written form is really an irrelevancy here - it's real spoken language. There are many contexts where you can quite reasonably articulate "I have" as a single syllable. Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 3:09
  • "I have got" in those examples still seems British, imo. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 17:28
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    This answer really does not address the differences well enough to get a sense appropriate usage.
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 4:57

Gotten is probably the most distinctive of all the AmE/BrE grammatical differences, but British people who try to use it often get it wrong.

It is not simply an alternative for have got. Gotten is used in such contexts as

  • They've gotten a new boat. (= obtain)

  • They've gotten interested. (= become)

  • He's gotten off the chair. (= moved)

    But it is not used in the sense of possession (= have). AmE does not allow

  • *I've gotten the answer.

  • *I've gotten plenty.

but uses I've got as in informal BrE. The availability of gotten does however mean that AmE can make such distinctions as the following:

  • They've got to leave (they must leave)

  • They've gotten to leave (they've managed to leave).

From the The Cambridge Encyclopedia of English Language.

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    Hmm, so "They've gotten to leave" is grammatical in AmE? All the other examples seem grammatical to me in AusE, except that one. Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 8:49
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    "They've gotten to leave" seemed odd to me until I understood it in the same sense as "I get to go home." (AmE speaker here.) It's unusual but a definite possibility in AmE. Commented May 27, 2016 at 5:36
  • How can you say that a boat is not a possession? As someone that doesn't use English as mother tongue, for me the AmE way of using it, it is simply chaotic and messy. Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 13:11
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    @joão "I've gotten a boat" = "I have received/obtained a boat". "I've got a boat" = "I have/possess a boat". Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 22:18
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    @JoãoPimentelFerreira One emphasizes the process of obtaining. The other emphasizes the state of possession. E.g. "If only I'd gotten a pay raise as I was promoted." v. "I've got a higher salary than 5 years ago and finally I can pay off my US student loans."
    – Cacambo
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 13:21

I try to avoid the "have got" constructions whenever possible. Usually where you feel like saying "I have got" you could substitute the simpler "I have" and no one would be the wiser. Unless you're speaking informally and using got for emphasis, as in "I have got to get out of this place," you can usually just drop that got.

As for gotten, I see no harm in using it informally in sentences like "I have gotten quite good at archery," although if you want to speak more formally you could say "I have become quite good at archery." Still, who would use the latter when boasting about archery prowess in a bar?

  • "I have gotten quite good at archery" -- Could you also say "I got quite good at archery" with the same meaning? Or is there a progressive element to the first sentence that is lost on the second? Or is it just wrong?
    – San Diago
    Commented Apr 24, 2019 at 21:32
  • "I've got a new bike" sounds totally natural to my British ears, whereas "I have a new bike" would sound ridiculously high-register in unmarked usage (it might be used with the 'have' emphasised). Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 17:24

I have got to go - I have to go.
I have gotten to go. - I have been permitted to go.

Gotten is archaic and should be avoided, except in typical phrases such as "ill-gotten wealth".

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    In the US, we use "gotten" as a past participle; it's not archaic for us.
    – Kosmonaut
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 14:41
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    "have (got) to" is a different construction from "have got(ten)", and should not be confused with it.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 16:59

This may be to simplistic but "I have got" means to come into possession minus your effort or hiding the effort needed. While "I have gotten" means to play a role in getting it yourself.

  • Too simplistic, but at least does not pretend to be anything else. Shedding some more (much needed) light on one of the nuances – even without providing references – does not deserve three downvotes, in my opinion, at least not without explaining what is wrong. But it does not deserve an upvote from me either. :) Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 9:46

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