Style Counsel

Gotten or got?

Gotten, an Americanism, is a past participle of the word get, and is frequently used in Australian English (and much less frequently in British English) to mean roughly the same as the past participle got. One main difference: gotten can mean that something was obtained ("I have gotten a new car"), but not that something is owned ("I have gotten a car"), while in the UK got is used for both senses. Curiously, gotten was not invented in the USA; it's an obsolete form of the past participle that was reintroduced in the USA, apparently to distinguish one meaning of the word from the other. Confusion will arise when the assumption is made that got is exclusively the past tense and gotten the past participle.