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Just been discussing the sentences:

I've several friends VS I have several friends

and

I've lots of things to do VS I have lots of things to do.

Are both variants acceptable or when you contract do you have to use "got"

(as in "I've got lots of things to do / I've got several friends.")?

Thanks!!!
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lillipetAre both variants acceptable or when you contract do you have to use "got"
Both variants are acceptable. When you contract you do not have to use "got".

To American ears the first of each pair (with the contracted form) sounds "British". In my opinion, an American would be less likely to use the contracted forms in those sentences. He would say I have or I've got. If you have been listening to a lot of American English, that may be giving you the idea that those sentences with "I've" (but not "got") are wrong in some way. They are not wrong.

CJ
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Hi,
Doesn't sound particularly odd to me.Emotion: smile

Clive
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Many thanks!

My first language is indeed not English and, although I learnt English many years ago, I wasn't taught English in Britain and most of my "basic" English was in fact taught to me by an American lady! Funny that! On the other side, my English partner is very comfortable with the contracted form without "got".

However, we still have a sentence which we have been debating (correcting my mum's English homework!):

"That's just the was things are when you've cats."

We both agreed here that the contraction sounds odd and "when you've got cats" or "when you have cats" sounds far better. Any idea why?

Thanks a lot again!
lillipet"That's just the was way things are when you've cats." ... We both agreed here that the contraction sounds odd and "when you've got cats" or "when you have cats" sounds far better. Any idea why?
You can add me to the list of people who agree with you. Emotion: smile

As to why, though -- hmm. I'll take your question to focus on why it sounds wrong rather than why it is wrong. In my opinion, "when you've cats" is completely grammatical. (Palmer, in The English Verb, reports He's no friends as a perfectly grammatical sentence.) Nevertheless, that construction, I think, is gradually being phased out of English. Because it is rarely heard, it seems wrong to us speakers of modern English.

CJ
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 Clive's reply was promoted to an answer.
CliveDoesn't sound particularly odd to me.
Seriously? I'm shocked! Emotion: surprise

CJ