Thursday, September 07, 2006

Today's English lesson

From Common Errors in English, another non-error:

"You've got mail"
should be
"you have mail."

Anyone saying this to you? Tell 'em it's completely bogus.

The "have" contracted in phrases like this is merely an auxiliary verb indicating the present perfect tense, not an expression of possession. In simpler terms, sometimes the word "have" is a main verb, sometimes it's just a helper for another main verb. This time it's just a helper, working alongside "got."

It is not a redundancy. Compare: "You've sent the mail."

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