How to Use Have and Have Got

Hanging out
Have you got / Do you have time for lunch?. Gary Burchell/Getty Images

Students of English will eventually both 'have' and 'have got' to express possession. Both forms can express what we own, but also the relationships we have. For example, I have / have got a car and a father. Beginning level students should also know that 'have' is preferred in US English, and 'have got' is much more common in British English. Finally, the fact that US English often uses 'gotten' as the participle for various verbs including phrasal verbs with get, but will also use 'have got' when expressing possession can further confuse students.

This guide provides examples of the various uses of both forms.

The differences between 'have' and 'have got' can be confusing for beginners. Here is a guide the two forms. When you finish reviewing, try the quiz to check your understanding.

Remember these important points:

  • 'Have' and 'Have got' are used for possession.

    Example: Jack has got a beautiful house. OR Jack has a beautiful house.

  • Only 'have' is used when talking about actions.

    Example: I usually have breakfast at 8 o'clock. NOT I usually have got breakfast at 8 o'clock.

  • The question form for 'have' follows regular present simple:

    Example: Do you have a fast car? NOT Have you a fast car?

  • 'Have' and 'Have got' are only used in the present simple. Use 'have' for the past simple or future forms.

    Example: She had a copy of that book.

  • There is no contracted form for 'Have' in the positive form. The contracted form is used for 'have got'

    Example: I have a red bicycle. OR I've got a red bicycle. NOT I've a red bicycle.

    Here is a grammar chart showing the construction of the two forms:

    Forms With 'Have Got'

    'Have got' is used both British and American English but is more common in British English. Note that 'have got' is used for possession in American English, but that 'gotten' is used for as the past participle for other uses of 'get'.

    SubjectPositive FormNegative FormQuestion Form
    I, You, We, They

    Subject + have + got + objects -> contracted form: 've got

     

    They have got a new car. 
    I've got a number of friends in Los Angeles.

    Subject + have + not + got + objects -> contracted form: haven't got

     

    We have not got a dog. 
    They haven't got time to meet today.

    (? word) + have + subject + got?

     

    How many children have you got? 
    Have we got enough time today?

    He, She, It 

    Subject + has + got + objects -> contracted form: 's got

     

    He has got a new car. 
    It's got red stripes and yellow stars.

    Subject + has + not + got + objects -> contracted form: hasn't got

     

    She has not got a dog. 
    It hasn't got any spots on it

    (? word) + has + subject + got?

     

    How many children has he got? 
    Has it got any gas in the tank?

    Forms With 'Have'

    'Have' is more common in American English when speaking about possession. However, 'have got', as mentioned before, is also used in American English for possession. 

    SubjectPositive FormNegative FormQuestion Form
    I, You, We, They 

    Subject + have + objects -> no contracted form

    They have a new car. 
    We have classes on Friday.

    Subject + do + not + have + objects -> contracted form: don't have 

    They do not have a dog.
    We don't have time for lunch now.

    (? word) + do + subject + have?

    How many children do you have? 
    Do we have any pasta left?

    He, She, It 

    Subject + have + objects -> no contracted form

    She has a new car.
    He has three children.

    Subject + does + not + have + objects -> contracted form: doesn't have

    She does not have a dog. 
    He doesn't have any friends in town. 

    (? word) + does + subject + have?

    How many children does he have? 
    Does she have a vacation this month?

    Note: Sometimes the irregular form 'Have you a car/house/etc.' is used in antiquated (older) forms of British English