Have something done

“Busyness is not a reason for not getting other things done.”

Alan Cohen, an American businessman

In some languages there is no such thing as to have something done construction. And you might wonder what “I had my hair cut” means, and why you can’t say “I cut my hair yesterday”. Well, the first sentence is the only right one because it shows that you were not the one who took the scissors and cut the hair – it was the hairdresser who did it. Or if you say “I have my car washed every 2 weeks”, it means you go to the car wash every 2 weeks and car washers make your car clean there – it’s not you who takes the hose and car shampoos and washes it. And if you say “I wash my car every 2 weeks”, it means it is your job, you wash your car yourself every 2 weeks. So, as you can see, the difference is great.

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I had my car repaired ( = my car was repaired; a professional mechanic repaired my car).

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I have my fence painted every 2 years ( = my fence is painted every 2 years; a painter paints my fence every 2 years).

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We have our office windows cleaned every 6 months ( = high rise window cleaners clean our office windows every 6 months; our windows are cleaned every 6 month).

FORM

Have/has + object + V3 (past participle)

You can use the construction in multiple tenses:

  • I have my house cleaned every week – present simple
  • I had my house cleaned last Saturday past simple
  • I will have my house cleaned next week future simple
  • I have had my house cleaned recently present perfect
  • Before I came home from holiday, I had had my house cleanedpast perfect

Modal verbs can also be used:

  • You should have the computer examined.
  • We must have the historic buildings restored.
  • I can have my car repaired on Friday, not Thursday. 

Mind that usually we don’t say who does the action when we use the construction. But if you decide to mention the doer, use “by”:

I have my hair cut by Mary at the hairdresser’s in the high street.

In colloquial English, we can also use “get” instead of “have”:

  • I’m going to get my windows cleaned next week.
  • I need to get my hair done.

Listen to the song to hear how the construction get something done is used in colloquial English:

Beyonce – Get Me Bodied

See the lyrics here.

Cool vocab from the song:

  •  I’ma put this on – I’m going to put this on
  • Get the bottles poppin’ – let them pop/open the (champagne) bottles
  • Rolls – Rolls-Royce
  • I ain’t worried – I’m not worried (“ain’t” is a contraction for am not, is not, are not, has not, and have not)
  • To get sb. bodied – to get sb. excited, especially in a club environment
  • I want to let it out – I want to express this feeling
  • To skip to the front of the line – in this context it means “get noticed”, “be the center of attention”
  • Chicks – young women
  • Flicks – photographs
  • To make one’s rounds – to circulate through a group or place
  • To give sb. the eye – to look at sb, especially in an admiring or inviting way
  • To conversate – to engage in conversation
  • Tight – in this context it means “stylish”, “cool”
  • To grind (ground; ground) – to gyrate the hips erotically
  • I kick off my shoes – I remove my shoes by making a kicking motion
  • Pat your weave – pat your fine hair extensions instead of scratching in order to still look cool
  • Cool off – become quiet or calm, especially after a state of agitation
  • Derriere [‘derɪeə]- bottom

In fact, all the words and expressions above are slang. Would you like to know more about it? Follow us! There will be a lot of posts on this exciting topic!