have or get something done



To have something done

Take care not to confuse to have done something with to have something done. This structure (have + object + past participle) is used to talk about arranging for other people to do things for us and has the same sort of meaning as a passive sentence. Compare the following:

  • We had this piece of furniture made specially so that it fits into the corner. It was madeby John Lawrence, the antique furniture restorer. 
  • Why did you take your car to the garage? ~ To have it serviced. ~ When my car needs to be serviced, I just hand it over to Michael. 

    Note that in informal English, we sometimes talk about getting things done, rather than having them done

  • I must get my watch repaired. It’s so inconvenient being without one.
    When are you going to get your hair cut? ~ I’m not going to get it cut. I’m going to let it grow.

Have something done


Get something done

are both used to refer to actions which are done for the subject rather than by the subject. Causative verbs are used instead of passive verbs to show that the subject causes the action to be done.

1. Have something done

I don´t know how to repair cars, so I´m having mine repaired  at the garage round the corner.

2.   Get something done

I really must get my eyes tested . I´m sure I need glasses. 

Get your hair cut


The differences between have and get something done are that have is slightly more formal than  get  , and that get   is more frequent than have in the imperative form.



Have  and get 

are also used to refer to events which happened to someone, but were outside their control. After being late for work every day for two weeks, Billy had his pay reduced .I stood so close to the fire that I  got my legs burnt


Rewrite these sentences using

have or get

1. The mechanic changed the oil in my car.___________________________________________________________________

2. The hairdresser cut my hair in a completely different style.__________________________________________________________________

3. A decorator has repainted our house.___________________________________________________________________

4-A friend of mine, who´s an electrician, is going to repair my DVD player next week.__________________________________________________________________

5. My jacket is being cleaned at a specialist cleaner´s.______________________________________________________________

6. The town hall has just been rebuilt for the council……………………………………………………………………………………………..

exercise one


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