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whyigottajoin's avatar

What is proper grammar; I caught a cold, I have a cold, I got a cold..?

Asked by whyigottajoin (1149points) June 9th, 2010

I got sick yesterday and I’m confusing myself, how do I say, with proper grammar that I caught a cold yesterday? I caught a cold, right? Or I got a cold? I’m not 100% sure.

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19 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Pretty much got is to be avoided in all instances if possible.

I caught a cold, or I came down with a cold is commonly used.

earthduzt's avatar

I agree with @JLeslie “I got a cold” is bad grammar and although it is said quite frequently here in America it shows to me at least lack of education. If you are going to use “got” It should be “I’ve got a cold” or “I have got a cold” in which case would not represent past tense. So yes I would say “I caught a cold” to mean that you caught it some days or weeks before.

another thing that bugs me is when people say “I seen that yesterday”

JLeslie's avatar

I just wanted to be clear that it is not only got in this sentence, got is a lazy word, although very true used quite often in America. I myself use it sometimes, and catch myself and hear my grandmothers voice in my head correcting me. I would never use got in a formal document or essay.

MissA's avatar

I have come down with a cold. Or, I have contracted a cold. ‘Got’, in any form, is bad grammar.

@earthduzt “I have a cold” is much stronger than “I have got a cold”.

JLeslie's avatar

@MissA I think she was looking for the past tense.

MissA's avatar

@JLeslie Wouldn’t past tense be “I had a cold”?

earthduzt's avatar

In American English, the use of have alone is preferred over have got, but either is actually correct. For instance, all of these sentences are correct in English:

I don’t have a thing to wear.
I haven’t got a thing to wear.
Do you have the time?
Have you got the time?
You have got to stop biting your nails.
I’ve got to call my therapist.

JLeslie's avatar

@MissA Her sentence was referring to starting a cold yesterday. I caught a cold yesterday. I came down with a cold yesterday. I am not sure if the OP wanted to be that specific, or if that was simply and example of a sentence. I had a cold imlied you no longer have it. You did use, I have come down with a cold, which could mean it started yesterday, but it would not work with yesterday in the sentence.

Brian1946's avatar

I have contracted a rhino viral infection. ;-)

theichibun's avatar

This isn’t a question about grammar. Rather, it’s a question about diction.

dpworkin's avatar

Don’t be too concerned with prescriptive grammar. Each usage you cited in your OP is heard with some frequency. In formal situations you may wish to pay attention to some of the prescriptive advice you have heard here, but in informal usage there is nothing wrong with your saying “got”. People do it all the time. It is not standard, prescribed grammar, but it is the way many, many people speak, and in my opinion sometimes vernacular speech is preferred to stilted, formal speech.

anartist's avatar

2 outta 3 ain’t bad
“I wantcha” [I caught a cold]
“I need ya” [I have a cold]
but darlin’ I aint nevah gonna say “I love ya” [I got a cold]

don’t feel sad, two outta three ain’t bad.

morphail's avatar

@JLeslie “Got” is the normal past tense and past participle of “get” so I don’t see how you can avoid it. But even if it should be avoided it in formal English, that doesn’t make it lazy.

gailcalled's avatar

“I Got Rhythm.” Gene Kelly and the kids; start here at 58”.

DominicX's avatar

“I caught a cold” and “I have a cold” refer to different things. They’re both perfectly fine depending on what you’re trying to say. “I have caught a cold” also works.

“Got”, while seen as ungrammatical is simply another way of saying it. But it has the image of being less grammatical and is generally considered less formal.

JLeslie's avatar

@morphail Don’t be offended by the word lazy. I just mean got is kind of like a catch all, when a more specific word could be used. If you were writing something formally a person could use got over and over, we would notice this and be more creative and specific, while when speaking we use the catch all word got a lot in English. We do this with many many words, because in English we can use one word for so many things. We can say I got a cold, he got a new TV, Sally got a parking ticket. Better would be I caught a cold, he bought a new TV, Sally received a parking ticket. Using a verb that is specific to the sentence is more attractive in speaking and writing, but as I said when speaking it is very common for all of us to use a simple term that is understood.

BernhardGorsz's avatar

These answers are pretty interesting. I am not an authority on the English language, so I do not really have a comment.

shree's avatar

So,I have caught a cold is right..isn’t it?

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