“They have got water coming up to their knees”. vs “Water comes up to their knees”. Which one is more idiomatic?

A native speaker is telling about the floods, how it happens, how people behave during floods, etc. and she says:

They’ve got water coming up to their knees.

I know this structure is commonly used when you want to say "you own something", but I find it interesting to see it used for description of a situation. I want to find out why they don’t say a simpler version "Water comes up to their knees." which would mean the same.

At school, we are taught "have or have got" means "to have or to own or to possess something". And we use it that way.

In the case of the above sentence about the floods, it is a situation. There is no possessing or owning by them. We are not talking about something(waters) that they are the owner of, such as "They have (got) a car."

So, the sentence "They have got water coming up to their knees." sounds like "They possess/own the waters.", whereas "They don’t own anything". Instead the structure "have" or "have got" seems to be used to describe a situation here, where there is nothing to be owned.

So, my question is what difference does it make to say "They have got water coming up to their knees", instead of Water comes up to their knees.

In other words, can we say, "have (got)" can be used when describing a situation even if we are not referring to our ownership of something?


At least in British English, we can say ‘I’ve got [something happening]’ to mean ‘I’m in a situation where [something is happening]’.

In describing flood water getting deeper, we might say The water’s coming up their knees now, or They’ve got water coming up to their knees.

Source : Link , Question Author : yunus , Answer Author : Kate Bunting

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