Unit 44. Have something done


  • Bill repaired the roof. (= he did it himself)

  • Bill had the roof repaired. (= he arranged for someone else to do it) Now study these sentences:

  • Did Ann design her business cards herself or did she have them designed?

  • Are you going to repair the car yourself, or are you going to have it repaired?

    To say that we arrange for someone else to do something for us, we use the structure have something done. The word order is important: the past participle (done/repaired, etc.) comes after the object (the roof):

    have + object + past participle
    Bill had the roof repaired yesterday.
    Where did you have your hair done?
    We are having the house painted right now.
    Tom has just had a telephone installed in his house.
    How often do you have your car serviced?
    Why don’t you have that coat cleaned?
    I want to have my picture taken.

    “Get something done” is possible instead of have something done (mainly in informal spoken English):

  • I think you should get your hair cut. (= have your hair cut)

    Have something done sometimes has a different meaning. For example:

  • He had all his money stolen while he was on vacation.
    This doesn’t mean that he arranged for somebody to steal his money! “He had all his money stolen” means only: “All his money was stolen.”

    With this meaning, we use have something done to say that something (often something not nice) happened to someone: George had his nose broken in a fight. (= his nose was broken)

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