I have (got) a (chronic?) headache. (spoken Br.E.)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by russian80, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    Which one is more likely to be used while describing a chronic disease in informal spoken BrE:

    I've got a headache.
    I have a headache.
     
  2. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    London
    British English
    Which what? Do you mean 'I've got...' or 'I have...'
    It makes no difference if the disease is chronic or not, 'I've got' is far more likely to be used than 'I have' or even less, 'I've'.
    You do realise that a headache isn't a disease, nor is it 'chronic' except when chronic is being used as slang.
     
  3. DonnyB

    DonnyB Sixties Mod

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I'd expect to hear (and say) "I've got a headache". :)

    While "chronic" is used informally in this sort of context, it also has a specific meaning in medical terminology, which is slightly different. I think I'd probably say "I've got a wicked headache".
     
  4. Retired-teacher Senior Member

    British English
    "Wicked" is current slang but may not last well into the future. I also hear young people use it most often to mean "very good".

    "I've got a chronic headache" to mean "I've got a bad headache" is medically incorrect but I suggest that it is regularly used.
     
  5. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    I've got a terrible/dreadful/awful/stinking (or "really bad") headache.
     
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    You ask which of the two is more likely to be used in informal spoken BE yet people are suggesting all sorts of other ways of saying this.

    I agree with Hermione. I've got is much more likely.

    It's mostly old fusspots like me that say I have a headache.
     
  7. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    Ok, which one is used more often to describe a recurrent event?
    Is one more likely to say, "We've got a lot of rain here every summer" ?
     
  8. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Hi russian80: I wonder if you mean "I keep getting these dreadful/awful/terrible etc headaches"?
     
  9. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    We aren't likely to use We've got for a recurrent event at all.

    We'd say We have a lot of rain here every summer or We get a lot of rain here every summer.

    For your headache case, we'd say I get frequent headaches or I have frequent headaches, or I have headaches.

    Or other things, such as Enquiring Mind's suggestion.
     
  10. Franco-filly Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - Southern England
    For a recurrent event we'd say, "We get a lot of rain" "I frequently get blinding headaches" etc.
     
  11. cando Senior Member

    English - British
    “Have got” is used for current/present/actual situations. So “we’ve got” in your example is incompatible with saying “every summer”. To speak about recurrent situations, you should use “get”. Therefore it should be: “We get a lot of rain here every summer" or “I get bad headaches”.

    CROSSED WITH THE POSTS ABOVE
     
  12. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    London
    British English
    So you have now changed from the ambiguous 'chronic', and 'diseases' of the OP, have you?
     
  13. DonnyB

    DonnyB Sixties Mod

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Sticking to the thread topic (which is headaches, and not rain ;)), I'd say:

    "I get/keep getting these awful headaches" if they're still occurring
    "I used to get these awful headaches" if they've stopped. :)
     
  14. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    If you have a recurring headache accompanied by dizziness, nausea, fatigue, sensitivity to light, sounds and smells, you could have a 'migraine'.
     
  15. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    Your contributions, Thomas, are very much to the point :thumbsup:
    Does the usage differ across different age groups?
     
  16. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    I would never have guessed that "I've got" was much more common that "I have" in Br.E. I would say it's the other way around in Hiberno-English, but I've no statistics to back that up.
    Then again, apparently we're the only people that say "Have you a headache?" so there's probably a certain inevitability about it.
     
  17. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Of course, in AE, the "I have ..." is likely to be used much more frequently than in BE. Based on comments from another member from Ireland, I'd expect the "I've a bad headache" to be well represented in Hiberno-English:)
     
  18. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    Yeah, who needs to be using extra words when your head is pounding!
    Again, I thought that "I've got" or "I [] got" were more common in the US. Always learning.
     
  19. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    They are - I don't have numbers but I was also taught growing up in England, (like TT apparently, by "old fusspots") that "I have" is proper and "I've got .." is not. In spite of that, "I've got .." seems to be the overwhelming favourite in BE, with "I have" fading away (?). What I was trying to say was that if "I have ..." is used X% of the time in BE, then in AE it would be several times X and quite possibly dominant.
     
  20. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I was taught not to use "have got" too, but as soon as I left the classroom I realised that "have got" for "have" is perfectly acceptable in casual/informal writing or speech. I would always say "I've got a headache" and use it for informal writing too, most of the time.
     
  21. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    A chronic disease is a disease that persists over time. Neither sentence is correct as neither expresses the idea that the headache is long-lasting/persistent.
    I've got a persistent/ constant headache. -> informal/normal
    I have a persistent/ constant headache. -> formal
     
  22. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    There is something known as CDH (chronic daily headache), which is a tension headache. I wouldn't use the verb 'to have' at all here. I'd say I 'suffer from chronic daily headache(s)'.

    Not to be confused with migraines....
     
  23. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    But in BE, for diabetes (or rheumatoid arthritis), for example, both unfortunately chronic, in BE you would still say
    "I've got diabetes (RA)" rather than "I have diabetes (RA)"?
     
  24. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    To me 'I've got diabetes'/'I suffer from diabetes' mean the same. Not so headaches/migraine. If I say 'I've got a headache/migraine' I mean that I have one at the time of speaking. 'I suffer from...' means that I have (fairly) regular attacks.

    CDH and migraine sufferers aren't necessarily in pain all the time but both afflictions are considered chronic because they are very often incurable : I have a migraine sufferer in the family who's tried everything over the years but who has to take painkillers when she feels an attack coming on as the only thing she can do is treat the symptoms.

    Edit. Thinking about, I suppose 'I've got migraine', meaning the disease is feasible (but I find it a bit odd. 'I've got a migraine headache', to me would mean that I have one at the moment of speaking and, not only that, it would be a way of distinguishing it from a 'normal' headache (which I get when I'm running a temperature, for example).
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  25. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    So "I've got diabetes" and "I suffer from diabetes" are more likely than "I have diabetes" in BE?

    (I had migraines every two or three days for 15+ years mostly in my 30s; they had started to become less frequent right before the drugs - the triptans - were developed - luckily they worked for me as the frequency declined to zero. I used to say "I get migraines frequently" or "I'm having a migraine (right now)".
     
  26. london calling Senior Member

    SALERNO, ITALY
    UK ENGLISH
    Like Veli, I was taught we should say I have and not I've got. Then I moved on.:D

    Seriously, I believe many people I know would say 'I've got (whatever)' but as to whether it's more common the 'I have (whatever)' well, I don't have the statistics to hand:p. And yes, 'I'm having a migraine' (i.e. right now) is definitely something I would say too if I suffered from migraine, which I don't.

    Anyway, to get back to the original question. We are talking about chronic headaches, not your common-or-garden 'normal' headache, so (as I see it, others may not agree):

    I suffer from chronic daily headaches/tension headaches/migraine.
    I get migraine (headaches)/tension headaches.


    My family member had to stop taking triptans: it actually worsened her symptoms. She's on a drug which is normally given to epileptics and when she has an attack she has to take very strong painkillers: the most recent one was morphine-based.:(
     
  27. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I was trying to ask about situations other than headaches but which are chronic conditions:
    "I've got diabetes." sounds like it would be more common than "I have diabetes." in BE.

    (The sumitriptan made me feel a litle weird and then tired but they stopped the (excruciaiting) pain in less than ten minutes. However, I understand migraines do not have a single well-defined cause. I hope they start to fade away for your family member like mine did )
     
  28. DonnyB

    DonnyB Sixties Mod

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I only know one person personally who has diabetes, and I say: "She is [a] diabetic." :)

    I wouldn't, in that instance, say "She's got diabetes" in the same way as saying "She's got eczema".
     

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