An american official announced Saddam Husseins capture with the phrase "We got him" which started a conversation about that phrase. Is it ungrammatical or not?
If what the speaker meant was "We have got him", then I suppose the phrase is a bit skew whiff.
If he meant "got" in a past tense, is this sentence grammatically ok?

Perhaps the reason I thought it sounded ungrammatical was that KFC had, or have, a slogan: "You got it", which *is* bad AFAICS, as what they mean (I presume!) is "You have got it".
alex
1 2
An american official announced Saddam Husseins capture with the phrase "We got him" which started a conversation about that phrase. ... slogan: "You got it", which *is* bad AFAICS, as what they mean (I presume!) is "You have got it". alex

I presume that the American official was using "got" in the past tense, in which case it would be an entirely standard usage. However, in the sense "We have him," it would not be that remarkable in informal speech:

From the usage note for the entry "get" in the AHD4 at http://www.bartleby.com/61/84/G0108400.html
(quote)
.In colloquial use and in numerous nonstandard varieties of American English, the past tense form got has the meaning of the present. This arose probably by dropping the helping verb have from the past perfects have got, has got: We've got to go, we've got a lot of problems became We got to go, we got a lot of problems. The reanalysis of got as a present-tense form has led to the creation of a third singular gots in some varieties of English, especially African American Vernacular English.

(end quote)
My guess is that the editors believe that the difference between colloquial use and nonstandard use is that in the nonstandard dialects, the entire verb is "got": that is, "have" is not being elided.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
An american official announced Saddam Husseins capture with the phrase ... they mean (I presume!) is "You have got it". alex

I presume that the American official was using "got" in the past tense, in which case it would be an ... be that remarkable in informal speech: From the usage note for the entry "get" in the AHD4 at http://www.bartleby.com/61/84/G0108400.html (snip)

Ok, thanks for that!
alex
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An american official announced Saddam Husseins capture with the phrase "We got him" which started a conversation about that phrase. ... slogan: "You got it", which *is* bad AFAICS, as what they mean (I presume!) is "You have got it". alex

What I heard was 'we gahdim' and the 'we got him' transliteration is wisdom after the event.

John Dean
Oxford
De-frag to reply
An american official announced Saddam Husseins capture with the phrase ... they mean (I presume!) is "You have got it". alex

What I heard was 'we gahdim' and the 'we got him' transliteration is wisdom after the event.

Yup, you're absolutely right there! Emotion: smile
What he said was, "We got 'im."
In American English, "to get" includes meanings like "to acquire, obtain," "to catch," "to hold (have)." Colloquial American English has difficulties with declining "to get"; officially and formally, the verb forms are "get/got/gotten," but "got" is often used for tenses one would not expect, especially when the meaning is "to hold (have)."

Cece
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What he said was, "We got 'im." In American English, "to get" includes meanings like "to acquire, obtain," "to catch," ... but "got" is often used for tenses one would not expect, especially when the meaning is "to hold (have)." Cece

I can still remember being chastised by teachers (1969-70) for using "got" in this way. "We have him", Mr McMahon at Ryde Primary would have insisted. His edicts were supported by a T Square wielded with great force against people with "eccentric" syntax, spelling or usage.

PE
I presume that the American official was using "got" in the past tense, in which case it would be an entirely standard usage. However, in the sense "We have him," it would not be that remarkable in informal speech:

get, got, (have) gotten
GFH
What he said was, "We got 'im." In American English, ... expect, especially when the meaning is "to hold (have)." Cece

I can still remember being chastised by teachers (1969-70) for using "got" in this way. "We have him", Mr McMahon ... edicts were supported by a T Square wielded with great force against people with "eccentric" syntax, spelling or usage. PE

True, true except our teachers weren't allowed to hit. The word "got" was considered improper. There was a children's book with much about behavior and manners and so forth that had a picture of a pretty flower, in a pot, being strangled by the word "got." I learned to use synonyms...
Cece
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