When ‘GET’ turns into ‘have got’, it speaks about possession. As ‘have got to’, it denotes obligation.
For explanations and examples, download my free Study Sheet as a PDF at the end of the post.
Read this dialogue between George and Tom to see how ‘GET’ is used in both ways.
What’s she got?
George has got to make an effort
Tom: … and as my best friend, it would mean a lot to me if you gave a speech at our wedding. It hasn’t got to be long … George! You’re not even listening to me! What are you thinking about?
George: Oh sorry, Tom. You see … I’ve got something to tell you. There’s a girl I often see on the bus on my way home. I was just thinking of her.
T: And what’s she got that makes you go all fuzzy in the head?
G: Well, she’s always got a book with her, often about photography. She’s got dark hair and green eyes. She hasn’t got perfect teeth, but she’s got a really lovely smile.
T: And has she got a name, too?
G: You’ve got to be joking! You know exactly I haven’t got the guts to talk to her.
T: Mate, you’ve got to make an effort or she’ll never notice you.
G: I’m sure she’s got a boyfriend.
T: Now look, you’ve got to be more optimistic. And you’ve got to get more self-confident.
G: That’s easier said than done, Tom. But you’re right. At least I’ve got to try … Maybe I could give her a smile first. And there’s got to be something nice I can say to her.
T: Yes, that’s it! I know you can do it! And remember you’ve always got me to help you if you need me.
G: Ah, and one more thing. I’ve got to apologize to Ellen. She was right in her letter: I haven’t got any reason for being unkind to her. I’m really sorry I made life difficult for her, and for you as well. I’m going to write her back.
T: She’ll appreciate that greatly, mate. – Hey, I’ve got an idea. How about if the three of us go out one day, as friends? Cause if you two really make up, we’ve got to celebrate it, right? It would make me really happy, you know.
G: Yes, I hope she accepts my apologies. I’d love to go out with you two. And I promise I’ll think about the speech.
T: Yeah … and also about that girl on the bus! 😀
What did Ellen write to George? What is George going to write to her? Read on in Episode 6.
• Have got is used to speak about possession. It means the same as have.
• Have got to denotes obligation. It means the same as have to.
See my free Study Sheet for much more information on GET for possession and obligation. You can download it as a PDF: GET_Possession_Obligation_PDF
Get a Life! – The series
- Introduction: Learn 7 facts about the verb GET.
- Episode 1: What did you get? Meet George, Ellen and Tom, and learn about GET + noun.
- Episode 2: Getting better? The flight attendant and the book lover. Find out about GET + adjective.
- Episode 3: Getting up and around. George on the move. Learn about phrasal verbs with GET to speak about movement.
- Episode 4: Do you get it? Ellen is upset about George: A tense phone conversation. See how GET replaces ‘understand’ and other verbs.
- Episode 6: Nobody likes to get hurt. George’s letter to Ellen. Learn about GET in the Passive.
- Episode 7: Lots of things to get done. Preparing a wedding. See how to use GET in the Causative.
- Episode 8: Not everyone gets to do it. Finally meet Sarah, and learn about the two uses of GET to do something.
- Episode 9: Can we get them to do it? It got me thinking. Learn about GET for persuading and motivating people to do something while each of our characters are thinking about the wedding in their own way.