Home » Common Mistakes » Grammar Mistakes » Get, Got, and Gotten

Get, Got, and Gotten

This word and its variants are incredibly common and useful, and rather easily misused. It means to receive, to become, to be allowed or to have the opportunity, and to arrive. It also means possession, understanding, and obligation when paired with “have”! That is one busy word! (Have you) got it?


  • I got a twenty that says you mess up its and it’s.
  • He’s gotta plan.
  • When did you got here?


Get — present tense — seems fairly straightforward: I get paid, I get restless, and I get there on time. Adding “have” to its past participle — got — gives us the urgency of “I must”: “I have got to buy books,” or “I have got to start working.” Adding “have” to gotten, however, serves as the standard past participle in American English: “I have gotten [received] a gift,” “I have gotten [become] sick,” “I have gotten [had the opportunity] to visit Yosemite,” and “I have gotten [arrived] to work on time.” The complication is when to use which one. If you speak American English, use have gotten as the past participle.


Gotten is a legitimate word; used with “have” (often in a contraction, as in “I’ve gotten this project off the ground”), it makes good sense to Americans and Canadians. Although it is English in origin, speakers of British English abhor its use; it fell out of favor several hundred years ago. To the English ear, it sounds like an encroaching Americanism, but it is not.

Leave a Comment

error: Alert: Content is protected !!