I have the following sentence:

I've got a lot of things to get done by this weekend.

Is it correct? Is to get done a valid causative form?

  • This article at Advanced English Grammar says: 1) Have or get something done ... in informal speech some people use get in sentences like this[:] We use get when we say that the person referred to in the subject of the sentence does something themselves, causes what happens, perhaps accidentally, or is to blame for it. Example: -I’ll get the house cleaned if you cook the dinner. (= I’ll clean the house) -Sue got her fingers trapped in the bicycle chain. (Sue trapped her fingers). 'Get sth done' means complete. Jul 23, 2014 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


In the original example

  • I've got a lot of things to get done by this weekend.
    (which is, by the way, completely grammatical colloquial English)

get is used twice, in two different idioms

  1. have got a lot of things = have a lot of things
  2. a lot of things to get done = a lot of things that must be done

with quite different meanings and grammar. Get is like that; it's a busy verb.

You don't seem to be concerned with (1), but plenty of folks puzzle over why people say things like I've got a cold instead of I have a cold, or You've got to see it instead of You have to see it.

(2) is a relative infinitive construction modifying a lot of things, but that's not an issue, either. Rather, it seems to be the causative get NP done infinitive idiom that is somehow troublesome.
This is just the get version of the causative have construction

  • having a lot of things done by this weekend
  • a lot of things to have done by this weekend

or the causative be construction

  • a lot of things to be done by this weekend

Since get is the causative/inchoative of both be and have,

  • a lot of things to get done by this weekend

is an obvious choice.

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