Do ‘have got’ and ‘got’ have the same meaning in American English


Could someone explain me the following sentences:

  1. I have gotten an idea
  2. I got an idea
  3. I have an idea
  4. I have got an idea

I want to know how/when native American speakers use the above sentences

Best Answer

I have gotten an idea.
I got an idea.
I have an idea.
I have got an idea.

Bear in mind that in English, there are two ways to say have in the present simple tense. There is have and have got. So:

  • I've got an idea and I have an idea. mean the same thing.

Next, bear in mind that got is the past tense of get, and that "get an idea" is similar to "have an idea". So:

  • I got an idea for a new book. means the same thing as: I had an idea for a new book. Those mean an idea for a new book came into (past tense) my head/mind.

Also, bear in mind that in fast speech or substandard speech in AmE, people do say: I got for either have or have got. For example:
"Hey, I got an idea." means in this case, "I have or have got (I've got) an idea". It is not the past tense of get here. But it would be here: I got a car yesterday. [bought or came into possession of a car].

A good example of this truncation of have got is an advertisement that asks: Got milk? which actually means: [Have you] got milk? for: Do you have any milk? OR: You got a car? for Have you got a car? or Do you have a car? [or gotta, in colloquial speech and seen in sub-titles or movie or book dialogues]

Finally, bear in mind that the present perfect of "have" or "have got" in AmE is "have gotten". (The British do not use this form with a few exceptions. Basically, they use have got as the present perfect for have/have got, which is why this can be very tricky if you don't know this. "Have you or haven't you got any ideas about this? could be present or present perfect depending on context. )

So: I've gotten an idea [about that recently]. is fine. It means: An idea has come into my mind at some undefined point in the past. as distinct from: "I got an idea about that yesterday but have now forgotten it".

Many questions here on ELL require contextualization which OPs frequently do not provide. This is one example of having to contextualize for purposes of explanation.

So, to answer your question: Is have got and got the same in AmE?

No, not really. Not in standard English.

I got your letter yesterday. [past of get]
I got your letter right here. [truncated colloquial for: I've got or I have your letter right here.]
I've got your letters. [present tense of have/have got: to be in possession of]

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