Causative: Have & Get Something Done

Causative: Have & Get Something Done

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

Alan Cohen, an American businessman

We use have something done (get something done is more informal) to say that we arrange form somebody else to do something for us. Compare:

I washed the car. (= I washed the car myself.)

I had the car washed. (= Someone washed the car for me.)

Did you do your nail? – Yes, I always give myself a manicure at home.

Did you have your nails done? – Yes, I went to the nail salon yesterday.

Be careful with the word order. The past participle (washed, done, etc.) is after the object.

have/getobjectpast participle (V3)
I had/gotthe carwashed.
Where did you have/getyour nailsdone?
Your hair looks nice. Have you had/gotitcut?
My husband and I have just had/gota housebuilt.
We are having/gettingthe fencepainted this weekend.
How often do you have/getyour carserviced?
I should probably have/getmy suitcleaned.
I don’t like having/gettingmy picturetaken. I don’t look good in pictures.

Sometimes have/get something done has a different meaning. See the examples below.

I got my car towed because I’d parked in a wrong place.

This doesn’t mean I arranged for someone to town my car as this is an undesirable thing. The sentence above only means My car was towed because I’d parked in a wrong place. With this meaning, we use have/get something done to say that something happens to somebody or their belongings. Often what happens is not nice. More examples:

I had my arm broken in the accident.

Have you ever got your bicycle stolen?

I got my phone screen cracked a few times.

I hope I’ll never have my apartment robbed again.


Click the link here are choose the correct sentence for each picture.

Click the link here and write what happened using have something done. Mind the tense.

Do you still have any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog for more articles like this one.

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