Difference Between Got and Have

Do you know the difference between “got” and “have” and when to use each correctly?

If not, read on. We see people and companies making this mistake all the time.

What Is The Difference Between “Got” and “Have?”

Got and have, while very similar in meaning and usage, are unique terms that are used at different times. Both refer to possession, but it is the form of possession that determines which is correct to use.

“Got” refers to receiving something, such as “I got marshmallows from the grocery store.” Or, “I got these shoes online because I saw them in a Facebook ad.”

“Have” on the other hand refers to owning something, such as “I have marshmallows in my pantry.”

You could extend that second example to “I have marshmallows in my pantry that I got at the grocery store.” It would not make sense to say “I got marshmallows in my pantry that I have at the grocery store.”

When To Use “Got” and When To Use “Have”

In short, use “got” when referring to actively procuring something from somewhere or receiving it from someone.

Use “have” when referring to possessing something that you may or may not have just procured.

What About “Have Got”?

Where I grew up, it was common to hear someone say something like “I have got to do (thing) today.”

This is not technically incorrect, but it is more a phrase choice and colloquial than a precise use of language. The proper way to say the above would be “I have to do (thing) today,” as it is more concise and “have” is being used to replace “need.” “Have got” is usually better replaced by “need.”