Have vs. Have Got: Difference Between Have & Have Got

Understanding the difference between “have” and “have got” can be a bit tricky at first, but it’s quite simple once we get the hang of it. Both expressions are commonly used to denote possession, but the way we use them can vary. In general, “have got” is more informal and usually preferred in British English, while “have” is the staple in American English. When we say “I have a book,” it’s direct and to the point, suitable for both written and spoken American English.

Have vs. Have Got: Understanding the Differences

Key Takeaways

  • We use both “have” and “have got” to express possession or ownership.
  • “Have got” is more casual and common in British English, while “have” is preferred in American English.
  • “Have” is universally accepted in both formal and informal contexts.

Have vs. Have Got: Meanings

Meaning of Have

“Have” is a verb that denotes possession, ownership, or the existence of a particular condition. We use “have” in a variety of contexts and it is widely employed in both spoken and written English. For example:

  • have a car.
  • We have plans for tomorrow.

In American English, “have” is generally preferred over “have got.” It’s a more straightforward option in constructing both sentences and questions. For instance:

  • Do you have a pen?
  • She doesn’t have any siblings.

Meaning of Have Got

“Have got,” on the other hand, is an informal variation commonly used in British English. It carries the same meaning as “have,” suggesting possession or the presence of a feature. We typically use “have got” in casual spoken dialogue. Examples include:

  • have got a terrible headache.
  • They have got a lovely home.

It’s worth noting that “have got” is less formal and is often contracted in speech (I’ve got, you’ve got, he’s/she’s/it’s got, we’ve got, they’ve got). Moreover, “have got” is mainly used in the present tense, such as:

  • We have got to leave now.
  • He’s got two left feet when it comes to dancing.

Have vs. Have Got: Usages and Examples

How to Use Have

Have is a causative verb in English.

Positive Sentence:

S + have/has

Negative Sentence: 

S + do not (don’t)/does not (doesn’t)+ have

Question Form:

Do/Does + S + have…?

How to Use Have Got

Positive Sentence:

S + have got (‘ve got)/has got (‘s got)

Negative Sentence: 

S + have not (haven’t) /has not (hasn’t) + got

Question Form:

Have/Has + S + got…?

When to Use Have vs. Have Got

  • To talk about the things we possess


have/have got a new mobile phone.

Paul doesn’t have/hasn’t got a car.

  • To talk about our relationships with other people


Jane has/has got a brother.

  • To talk about what we look like


She has/has got blue eyes.

  • To talk about sickness or temporary state


have/ I’ve got a cold.

They have/have got a problem.

Have vs. Have Got: Examples

Examples of “Have”

  • have two tickets for the concert tonight.
  • We have to finish our homework before we can go out.
  • She has a beautiful garden in her backyard.
  • They have a meeting scheduled for 3 p.m.
  • Do you have any idea where my keys are?

Examples of “Have Got”

  • have got a terrible headache; I need to rest for a while.
  • You have got to see this new movie; it’s amazing!
  • He has got a new bicycle for his birthday.
  • We have got plenty of time to make it to the airport.
  • She has got such a warm personality.

Practice and Application

Multiple Choice

  1. I (A) have (B) have got a meeting scheduled for tomorrow.
  2. Do you (A) have (B) have got any siblings?
  3. They (A) have (B) have got to finish their homework before they can play video games.
  4. We (A) have (B) have got plenty of time to get to the airport.
  5. She doesn’t (A) have (B) have got a clue about the surprise party.
  6. You (A) have (B) have got to see the new exhibit at the museum; it’s fantastic!
  7. They (A) have (B) have got three dogs and two cats at their house.
  8. I (A) have (B) have got a strong feeling that we’re going the wrong way.
  9. Do we (A) have (B) have got milk in the fridge, or should I buy some?
  10. He (A) have (B) have got a lot of experience in the field of engineering.


  1. A) have
  2. A) have
  3. A) have
  4. A) have
  5. A) have
  6. B) have got
  7. B) have got
  8. B) have got
  9. B) have got
  10. B) have got

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between ‘have’ and ‘have got’?

  • ‘Have’ is used in American and British English to express possession, while ‘have got’ is more common in British English and is also considered informal.

Can ‘have got’ be used in the past tense?

  • No, ‘have got’ is only used in the present tense to express possession. For the past tense, you would only use ‘had’.

When do we use ‘have’ and ‘have got’ in questions and negatives?

  • For questions and negatives in British English, ‘have’ can be used with ‘do/does’ (Do you have…? I do not have…), while ‘have got’ follows the pattern of ‘have/has’ + subject + ‘got’ (Have you got…? I haven’t got…).

Is ‘have got’ acceptable in formal writing?

  • It is generally better to use ‘have’ in formal writing. ‘Have got’ is more suitable for informal contexts.
Usage ‘Have’ ‘Have got’
Statements I have a car. I have got a car.
Questions Do you have a pen? Have you got a pen?
Negatives She does not have a brother. She hasn’t got a brother.

Can ‘have’ and ‘have got’ be used interchangeably?

  • While they can often be used to mean the same thing when talking about possession, ‘have’ is generally preferred in American English, and they should not be used interchangeably in the past tense or when ‘have’ is used as part of a phrase (e.g., to have breakfast).

Have vs. Have Got | Picture

Have vs. Have Got