There is an ad on television in which one of the business leaders in a conference says, "We've got to have . . ., which sounds awful. Shouldn't it be something like "We have to have . . . ?" What are rules for got or have?
Some people really, truly, madly, deeply hate the word "got" in all its forms. This includes "Got milk," "You've got mail," and Anne's aforementioned ad.
SPOGG believes there is some use for it. For example, SPOGG doesn't love the construction "we have to have." Word repetitions can sometimes be confusing. Does "have to have" mean "we must have"? Or does it mean "have for the sake of having"? Good sentences don't need to be deciphered.
Also, "got" has a nice punch to it. It's a short word, with a short vowel sound and two hard consonants. The very sound of it adds to the urgency expressed by "we've got to get out of here," a sentence once uttered by a fellow member of our high school cross-country team after he stepped on a beehive. At the time, and even now, SPOGG did not question his use of the word.
The Encarta dictionary has some good advice on the topic:
Get is an overworked verb. It is better to use a more specific term in formal writing whenever you can. The past participles got and gotten convey slightly different ideas. They have gotten an apartment in Boston means they have recently taken the apartment, whereas They have got an apartment in Boston simply indicates that they have it. (There are those who would argue, with reason, that in a sentence like this one got is redundant, and that have alone would do the job.) In informal usage, have got can also be followed by an infinitive to denote obligation (I've got to go to the party means "I must"), whereas have gotten with an infinitive denotes opportunity (I've gotten to go to the party means "I've been given the chance to attend").The key things to note here are the "formal writing" context, and the redundancy of certain uses. If you should have occasion to write formally, by all means, plump up your writing with fancier words. If you don't need to say "got" to make your sentence clear, don't say it. This goes for other words, too.
Otherwise, and in informal contexts — which describe most of the ones we experience, unless we're politicians, popes, or petifoggers — we can get away with got.