Difference Between Got and Have

Difference Between Got and Have

When differentiating between ‘Got’ and ‘Have’, it’s actually distinguishing between their meaning of ‘Have’ and ‘Have Got’. They are used to mean possessiveness when used in a sentence. But as far as individuality is concerned, ‘Got’ is the past tense of ‘Get.’ It has several uses, as discussed in this article.

‘Have,’ on the other hand, is present tense. For instance, when you use it in a sentence like you have a nice pen or you have got a pen. The two-sentence somewhat are similar to each other and are used in the present tense. Even though they are somehow similar, they have some distinguishing factors while in use. Therefore, it is essential to understand the two phrases according to their correct syntax rules.

Got Vs. Have

The distinguishing factors between them stem from meaning and the given situation. The two phrases are very similar in various instances, but their meaning changes when used in the past tense. For example, in the present tense, you can say ‘You have a nice cat’ or ‘You have got a nice cat’. On the other hand, in the past tense, you can never use ‘had’ in place of ‘got’. For instance, you had a friendly chat. You can’t say this sentence as: “You had got a friendly cat“. The correct way to write the sentence is that: “You had gotten a friendly cat“.

The two terms refer to possession, and they can be expressed in various forms. ‘Have’ shows you own something. If you possess something, ‘Have’ will indicate this ownership. For instance, I have a dog. But when you write that I have gotten a dog, it means that you received a dog from someone.

When you try to use these words negatively or interrogatively, there are more common usages than others. For example, “have you got my car keys? No, I haven’t gotten your car keys“. This is an example of an interrogative and negative sentence. It has incorporated the two words together. There are other sentences uncommonly used, but they are correct. For one, “have you any car keys? No, I haven’t any“.

‘Have’ can also refer to actions and experiences. Got or have got can’t be used to refer to actions. For instance, I have brunch at 11.00 AM. Here you can’t use either ‘got’ or ‘have got.’ When you wish to make positive comments, ‘have’ doesn’t have any contracted form, while ‘have got’ can be used in the contracted condition. For instance, I have a pink pen or rather, I’ve got a pink pen.

What is ‘Have’?

The word is used in the present tense to express the possession or ownership of an object. The primary meaning of this word is representing ownership of an object. The word can also be used to describe obligation when in the context of a relationship.

They mean the same thing when you use them in the present tense. However, their meaning changes when you try using them in the past tense. The word ‘have’ is used mainly by Canadian and American speakers compared to British speakers. The term is also used in a standard setup.

Here are some examples that demonstrate the usage of ‘have’ in a sentence;

  • Can I have this pen?
  • I want to have dinner.
  • I have to study for the upcoming test.
  • I have to pay rent by the end of this month.

What is ‘Got’?

‘Got’ and ‘have got’ are words used to try and describe that act of receiving something. You can easily use these words interchangeably in the present tense and replace ‘have.’ You have to note that this replacement is only applicable in the present tense.

When you use them in the past tense, their meaning automatically changes. ‘Have’ will become had and therefore cannot be interchanged with ‘have got’ or ‘had got.’ For example, the sentence “I have got a cat” will change in the past tense to “I had a cat” and not “I got a cat“.

Additionally, you can use the contracted form of having got in a positive affirmation. However, the contracted form of ‘have’ cannot be used positively. As it will not be grammatically correct. Examples of sentences that have incorporated ‘got’ include;

  • I got a penny from the by-lane.
  • She got a car for her 16th birthday.
  • I got a gold medal for winning the 100-meter race.
  • She got away with the crime.

Difference Between Got and Have

  • The primary distinguishing factor between these two words is their meaning. The meaning of ‘have’ in the past tense refers to possession of something, while the word got guides to the act of receiving objects. The variation in meaning is equally important in each instance.
  • The second differentiating factor between the two words comes in their usage. They are used differently in the past tense, where ‘got’ or ‘have got’ can never replace ‘have’.
  • When you use ‘have’ in a positive form, you can contract it, but you cannot employ it when you use ‘have got’ in a positive state.
  • The word ‘have got’ is informal and is used in casual conversations, while ‘have’ is suitable for formal usage.
  • ‘Have’ can’t be replaced with ‘got’ when referring to future or repetitive events.
  • The word ‘have is popularly used by Canadians and American speakers while got or have got popularly used by British English speakers.


Speaking English correctly needs you to have a basic understanding of the grammatical norms of the language. If you do not have in-depth knowledge about this, you will have difficulty writing and speaking English. These two words are confusing to many people when you want to use them.

They can be used interchangeably in the personal sense. But some circumstances make this impossible. For one, you cannot interchange them when you try to interchange them in the past tense.

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