Have vs. Have Got: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the nuances of the English language can be challenging, and the use of "have" versus "have got" is no exception. This article dives deep into these two phrases, examining their verb forms, tenses, and distinct usages.

1. Verb Form of "have" and "have got" and Examples


"Have" is a primary auxiliary verb and also serves as a main verb indicating possession, obligation, necessity, or other related meanings.


  • I have a cat. (possession)
  • I have to go to the store. (obligation)

Have got

"Have got" is more informal than "have" and is mainly used in colloquial speech, particularly in British English, to indicate possession or necessity.


  • I have got a cat. (possession - same meaning as "I have a cat.")
  • I have got to go to the store. (necessity - same meaning as "I have to go to the store.")

2. Tenses of "have" and "have got" and Examples


Being both a main and auxiliary verb, "have" can be used in various tenses:

  • Present: She has a dog.
  • Past: They had a wonderful time at the party.
  • Present Perfect: I have had three coffees today.
  • Past Perfect: He had had enough by then.

Have got

"Have got" is mostly used in the present tense to denote possession or necessity. Its past tense form is not commonly used.

  • Present: She has got a dog. (Equivalent to: She has a dog.)

3. The Difference Between "have" and "have got" and Examples

  • Formality: "Have" is neutral and can be used in both formal and informal situations. On the other hand, "have got" is more colloquial and tends to be less formal.

    Example: In an academic paper or official document, one would probably write "I have a degree in biology" rather than "I've got a degree in biology."

  • Geographical Preference: While both are understood globally, "have got" is more prevalent in British English, whereas "have" is universally used in both American and British English.

    Example: A British person might say, "I've got a headache," while an American might simply state, "I have a headache."

  • Usage: "Have" has a wider range of uses than "have got." For instance, while "have" can be used to talk about experiences, "have got" cannot.

    Example: "I have been to Paris" is correct, but "I've got been to Paris" is incorrect.

  • Affirmative, Negative, and Questions: Both "have" and "have got" can be used in the affirmative, negative, and questions, but their constructions differ:


    • I have a pen.
    • I have got a pen.


    • I don't have a pen.
    • I haven't got a pen.


    • Do you have a pen?
    • Have you got a pen?

While "have" and "have got" can often be used interchangeably, especially in the context of possession, they do have nuances in formality, regional preferences, and grammatical structure. It's essential to understand these differences to use them appropriately in various contexts.

4. Have and Have got exercises with answer and explanations 

These tests will help you to learn, review, and refresh your knowledge about English verbs - Have and have got. Each test contains 10 questions. Choose have, has, have got, or has got to complete each question. Instructions may be available for each test. After finishing a test, you can review your answers.


English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 01

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 02

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 03

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 04

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 05

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 06

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 07

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 08

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 09

English Verb - Have and Have got - Test 10 


More tests:

Must and Have to Tests


English Grammar - "Must/Have to" Test 001

English Grammar - "Must/Have to" Test 002

English Grammar - "Must/Have to" Test 003

English Grammar - "Must/Have to" Test 004

English Grammar - "Must/Have to" Test 005

English Grammar - "Must/Have to" Test 006