Do Canadians and Americans really use "gotten" as past participle when speaking?



The OALD has the following note about get:

In spoken North American English the past participle got•ten /ˈɡɒtn/ /ˈɡɑːtn/ is almost always used.

I know that I have got a car just means I have a car. Excluding that case, do Canadians and Americans really use gotten as past participle when speaking? Does that mean they use got as past participle when writing, but gotten when speaking?

Notice that the OALD reports got as past tense, and past participle of get. This, and the sentence I previously shown makes me assume the dictionary is saying that gotten is used in spoken English from Canadians and Americans, while got is used from Canadians and Americans when writing.

I remember that an American friend of mine (born and raised in the East coast) told me I should write have got, not have gotten.


Posted 2013-04-02T21:09:11.293

Reputation: 20 456

2Aside: only 1/3 of entries in COCA are spoken. – Em1 – 2013-04-02T21:20:28.070

9Yes, we do. It sounds really weird to us when people from the U.K. say "have got" instead of "have gotten". And we don't use "have got" when we're writing, either. (There are some situations besides possession where you can use "have got" in AmE. For example, you have got to use it when it means "must". I also remember there was some other usage where both "have got" and "have gotten" sounded okay to me, but I have forgotten it.) – Peter Shor – 2013-04-02T21:20:39.877


Whoops. Only noticed after I posted an answer, but in the 'related' sidebar on this page it shows that you already asked this question back in January: So I'm going to close this as a duplicate now. If you feel it's not a duplicate and want it reopened please feel free to @ message me and we can sort it out. Thanks!

– WendiKidd – 2013-04-02T21:25:39.900

@WendiKidd This is a different question. I am asking about a note found in a dictionary that leads me to think that have got is used in written North American English, while have gotten is used when speaking. The other question is not about spoken North American English. – kiamlaluno – 2013-04-02T21:39:29.223

@kiamlaluno Ahh, I see. My apologies, I didn't notice the distinction. Reopening, and I'll edit my answer to reflect. – WendiKidd – 2013-04-02T21:41:26.240

5Yes. In AE I have got, written or spoken, is present tense and means I possess, not I obtain. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2013-04-02T21:51:04.770



Yes, we do. You're correct that in British English have got is what's used, but at least in American English, we do say have gotten.

I've gotten 10 parking tickets already this year!

I have gotten almost no sleep since my baby was born.

In American English we use have gotten both when writing and when speaking. As Peter Shor notes, it sounds very odd to us to hear Brits say (or write) have got!

You might also be interested in this question on EL&U which asks about the difference between the two constructions and has some interesting answers.


Posted 2013-04-02T21:09:11.293

Reputation: 14 749

9It's worth noting, I think, that most americans recognize this (often unconciously) as informal language and when writing or publicly speaking, will manuever around it to avoid both gotten (too informal) and got (to odd/stilted). So, ending up with sentences more like "I have received 10 parking tickets this year.", or "I have had almost no sleep since my baby was born.*" – RBarryYoung – 2014-10-01T21:03:41.220


In AmE writing, almost any form you can imagine is used, depending on style, context, and whether it appears in a quote or not. In speaking, we might say "I got" for past, and "I have gotten" for the past participle, and we generally do not say "I have got" for the past participle. In AmE, "I have got" is indeed used as the present tense (yes, it's somewhat redundant, but at least it's usually contracted to "I've got").

Note that there is another use of this construction. If we were to talk about "getting tired," the past participle would definitely be "I've gotten tired," never "I've got tired," whether in speaking or writing. Admittedly, this is an unusual construction in AmE; we would usually say "I'm tired." (This usage applies to all adjectives in place of "tired," such as "old," "heavy," "exhausted," "drunk," and so on.)

John M. Landsberg

Posted 2013-04-02T21:09:11.293

Reputation: 1 203

I wonder for what reason the downvote. The first paragraph says, in general, the same as the other answer. So, it can only be about the second paragraph. Now I'm interested in what is wrong because as a non-native I can't figure out. – Em1 – 2013-04-03T07:15:32.600

I didn't down-vote, but I imagine the down-voter voted because the OP wrote, "and 'I have gotten' for the past participle"; that is not the past participle, but the present perfect of get. – kiamlaluno – 2013-04-03T08:33:47.830

2The first sentence of your answer is confusing. You do explain things better later, but the downvoter might have only read one sentence. – Peter Shor – 2013-04-04T01:27:34.867


The use of past tenses ending in -en can occur in British English, in some northern dialect.

Example: Pupil to teacher, about another students work

"Tommy's putten 'putten' where he should have putten 'put'"

Rod C

Posted 2013-04-02T21:09:11.293

Reputation: 1

1This is incorrect. They're not saying 'putten'; rather, it's an accented pronunciation of 'putting'. In the present tense, it's simply 'put'. – ArtOfCode – 2016-03-18T23:49:35.553

1Which Northern Dialects are these? I've never heard it in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester or Liverpool, which covers the majority! Somewhere in the deep, dark North-East I assume? – Jon Story – 2014-12-12T11:24:31.673