What is the difference in meaning between these pairs of sentences, if any?

He had his wallet stolen in Barcelona. (Active)
His wallet got stolen in Barcelona. (Passive)

Have you ever had your car broken into? (Active)
Did your car ever get broken into? (Passive)

He had his driving licence taken away (by the police) (Active)
His driving licence got taken away (by the police) (Passive)

They had their house burgled while they were on holiday (Active)
Their house got burgled while they were on holiday (Passive)

closed as unclear what you're asking by Andrew Leach Dec 10 '16 at 10:37

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This reads like a homework question. We don't do homework, even if some members of the community think it's on-topic. Please choose one pair to ask about (which is either the most representative, or the most troubling), explain why you have the answer you have, and ask about the specific aspect of your re-wording which you are unsure about. – Andrew Leach Dec 10 '16 at 10:37

Each had form is an idiomatic active-voice form of the verb that's equivalent to the passive-voice form below it.

They had their house burgled


It happened to them that their house was burgled.

Notice that the the object of had cannot follow the past participle.

They had burgled their house

means something entirely different, and in fact, is associated with a possible ambiguity in the original:

They had their house burgled (for the insurance)


They arranged for their house to be burgled (for the insurance).

Context is everything.

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