AEE 850: The Very American Use of the Word “Gotten”

American word gotten how to use it

What have you gotten done today? Haven’t you gotten much done?

Today we’re talking about the very American word “gotten.”

Let’s start with a question from our listener.

Hi Lindsay, Michelle and Jessica,

I am Minhaj from India.  I’ve been listening to your podcast from a couple of months every day and I am just loving it. To be honest your podcast is my favorite. It’s natural, informative, enjoyable and the voice is very clear that I can easily listen and understand while walking on the road. Thank you so much for this great work.  I have a question for you, I heard in a speech of a native speaker telling a phrase ”I’ve gotten”. I was confused because I heard that for the first time. I know about the phrase “I’ve got” very well. Are they both same or different, What does “I’ve gotten ” mean.

I will be grateful if you kindly take my doubt under consideration and help me out.

Waiting for the answer, thanks in advance…….

Good question!

We are guessing that you are used to British English.

The verb forms of “get” including “get,” got,” and “gotten” are an interesting example of where American English speakers and British English speakers use the past participle differently.

The verb “to get” means to secure, to acquire, to reach, achieve, possess.

This verb has a lot of meanings. It is super broad and super important.

 

Where do we Americans and British people disagree?

In England they say get, got, got while Americans say get, got, and gotten

Go here to learn more about the history of the word “gotten.”

 

More examples of how we use it:

  • I should have gotten milk at the store but I forgot.
  • If I had known it was his birthday I would have gotten him a gift.

 

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Pronunciation!

  • Pronunciation of gotten- it sounds like Manhattan or eaten. It can be tough for non-native speakers to pronounce.

 

One thing to watch out for:

When Americans talk about possessing something in a static situation they say “got.”

For example: have you got anything to eat? Got anything else you want to say?

 

 Also watch out for:

 gotta= got to= have to

“I gotta get there by noon”

 

 

Click here to read more about the history of the word “gotten.”

 

Takeaway:

Recognize that the third form of “get” is used differently in the US and England.

Don’t get overwhelmed.

Always try to connect rather than be perfect when you are looking for the right grammar form.

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