English Grammar in Use, Unit 46: Causative Structure

  • Unit: 46
  • Topic: Have something done à Causative Structure

Part A:

Study this example situation:

The roof of Lisa ‘s house was damaged in a storm.

So she called a builder, and yesterday a man came and repaired it.

Lisa had the roof repaired yesterday.

This means: Lisa arranged for somebody else to repair the roof. She didn’t repair it herself.

We use have something done to say that we arrange for somebody else to do something for us.


Lisa repaired the roof. (=she repaired it herself)

Lisa had the roof repaired. (=she arranged for somebody else to repair it)

‘Did you make those curtains yourself?’ ‘Yes, I enjoy making things.’

‘Did you have those curtains made?’ ‘No, I made t hem myself.’

Part B:

Be careful with word order. The past participle (repaired/cut etc.) is after the object:

have object past participle

Lisa had the roof repaired yesterday.

Where did you have your hair cut?

Your hair looks nice. Have you had it cut?

Our neighbour has just had a garage built.

We are having the house painted this week.

How often do you have your car serviced?

I think you should have that coat cleaned.

I don’t like having my picture taken.

 Part C:

Get something done

You can also say get something done’ instead of have something done’:

When are you going to get the roof repaired? (=have the roof repaired)

I think you should get your hair cut really short.

Part D:

Sometimes have something done has a different meaning. For example:

Paul and Karen had their bags stolen while they were travel ling.

This does not mean that they arranged for somebody to steal their bags. ‘They had their bags stolen

means only: ‘Their bags were stolen’.

With this meaning, we use have something done to say that something happens to somebody or their belongings. Often what happens is not nice:

Gary had his nose broken in a fight. (= his nose was broken)

Have you ever had your bike stolen?

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