It amused me when I was playing on Xbox Live and some Americans made fun of my English because I said:

I have to go now.

They said that I was being so formal to say that, and I should say: I gotta go.

I tried to find any formal explanations to this sentence, but even in dictionaries what I have got was:

gotta means a contraction of “got to”

I shook my head trying to understand the sentence:

“I gotta go”, which should be, “I got to go”

got is the past of get, and I am telling you that I need to go now, using a verb in the past? Is that it?

In my point of view:
I get to see London in this trip - I could find a way to visit London in this trip, maybe the trip would go to others cities too.
I got to see London in the trip - I visited London in ‘the trip’ that I am talking about

If it’s correct, how can “I got to go” mean “I have to go”?

Thank you, Mamute.


The appropriate way of saying it is actually “I have got to go now” or “I’ve got to go now”. What you said is also perfectly fine. “I gotta go” is merely colloquial language, and “I got to go” is grammatically incorrect, at least in British English. One would either say “I have to go” or “I have got to go”.

Have a look at this, it should explain it, and click on “Special case: Have got”

Playing Xbox Live is a good way of getting to know the language as it is spoken, which may vary somewhat to how it is written, but you’re likely to encounter a lot of this kind of thing, especially with young people :stuck_out_tongue:

I’d say I have to go. More of a Southern U.S creation.
Where “got” isn’t being used at the past tense of “get” but merely something like a verb on its own that means “to must” or “to have to”.
I “Got to” go now.
I “Gotta” go now.
I “Have to” go now.

Same thing.
It is viewed as informal and even improper speech at times.

Well, “gotta” means “must” in the colloquial American English that I speak. For example, I might say to a friend, “You gotta see this movie because it’s sweet!” This means, “You must/really should see this movie.” I know that it probably does not make sense grammatically, but that is how it is used. I tell you this to keep an eye out for it in different contexts as well.

“I have to go” isn’t that formal…I don’t know why those Xbox people thought it was, maybe it was the way you said it or something, but “I have to go” is in my eyes perfectly normal for that situation, and so would “I gotta go.” So don’t feel you have to switch to “I gotta go” in order to be understood or sound like a native, you don’t.

I live in the Southern US and “I have to go” is used here quite often.
I don’t see anything wrong with that expression.
Definitely, “I have to go” is not considered to be formal.