Have OR have got?

[The difference between have and have got - English grammar // Gramatyka angielska: różnica miedzy have i have got]


Let's look at one of the sentences from this week's vocabulary lesson more closely:

We've got a lot of national or religious holidays that are celebrated by local communities (...).

The question for today is why the sentence uses 'have got' and not simply 'have'. What is the difference, if any, between these two popular verbs? It seems a piece of cake, but we are not always aware of it. HAVE and HAVE GOT have exactly the same meaning when you refer to 'possessing/owning' something or 'states', e.g.:

Alan has a new bike. or Alan has got a new bike. He has two sisters. or He has got two sisters.

The only difference between 'have' and 'have got' in the sentences above is that 'have got' is more often used in spoken and informal writing by the British. Americans typically do not use the 'have got' structure.

But when it comes to the use of HAVE for meanings different than 'possess', so when HAVE denotes actions or experiences, only the 'have' form can be used, never 'have got'. Look at the examples that illustrate this:

She is having a bath at the moment. They had dinner in a restaurant last night. We are going to have a meeting in 2 hours' time.

In this meaning, unlike the meaning of 'possess', HAVE can be used in progressive tenses.

Be careful when making negatives or questions with HAVE and HAVE GOT. The former behaves like a regular verb, so you need auxiliaries to form negations and questions ('She didn't have dinner yesterday' / 'Why do they have three cars?'), while the latter forms negations and questions through inversion ('How many brothers have you got?' / 'They haven't got any pets.')

And the last note about HAVE and HAVE GOT: remember that HAVE GOT exists only in the present, so when you want to use it in the past or future, it will be simply reduced to HAVE.


Make your own sentence and put it in the comments! :)



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