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‘Get’ 5: Have got | Have got to

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

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