Have vs. Have Got

Have got means exactly the same as have in affirmative clauses. Got-forms of have are informal, and are most common in the present.

  • She has got a new boyfriend. (= She has a new boyfriend.)
  • My mother has got two sisters. (= My mother has two sisters.)
  • They have got a car. (= They have a car.)

Differences

In questions and negatives, we do not normally use have without got.

  • Has your sister got a car? (More natural than Has your sister a car.)
  • I haven’t got your keys. (More natural than I haven’t your keys.)

Note that it is also possible to use do-forms of have instead of got-forms.

  • Does your sister have a car? (= Has your sister got a car?)
  • I don’t have your keys. (= I haven’t got your keys.)

Cases where have got is not used

Have got is not used in short answers or tags.

  • Have you got a headache? Yes, I have. (NOT Yes, I have got.)
  • She has got a new car, hasn’t she? (NOT — hasn’t she got?)

Got-forms of have are less common in the past tense.

  • I had flu last week. (NOT I had got flu last week.)

British-American differences

In British English, have without got is possible in short questions and negatives, though these are often formal.

Compare:

  • Have you a car? (Formal GB only)
  • Have you got a car? OR Do you have a car? (US/GB)
  • It’s a nice flat, but it hasn’t a proper bathroom. (Formal GB only)
  • It’s a nice flat, but it doesn’t have a proper bathroom. OR It’s a nice flat, but it hasn’t got a proper bathroom. (US/GB)
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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