I would like to know when the causative with have/get + object + present participle can be used and when it can't. In this answer I found this example:

  • He had us dancing/dance on the table ~ He got us dancing/to dance on the table.
  • I had him see his advisor about that ~ I got him to see his advisor about that.

In the first sentence it seems that the present participle can be used interchangeably with the bare infinitive in the case of have or with the full infinitive in the case of get. Is it really so? Why wasn't the present participle used in the second sentence? Are there some verbs that can't be used with the past participle in a causative construction?

Also, I would like to know if there are any differences in using the present participle in the causative with have or with get. Thank you for your help!

3 Answers 3


Remember that the participial form is used as a noun. Dancing on the table therefore modifies the object, us, and makes that the agent. Dance is a verb and continues from the main verb, had, so the subject is the agent. In other words, the decision to dance is made by the dancers in the first case and by the onlooker in the second.

In this sense there is no difference between have and get, because the to is understood in the first example. That's probably a result of have being used longer.

The second example doesn't use the participle because that form refers to an ongoing process. It might make sense for someone to be seeing a priest or a psychiatrist, which would happen over time, but a visit to an advisor about one question (that) would not. There's no verb you can't use here, but for semantic reasons there are some you wouldn't.


The inference is subtle, but there is a difference. "He had us dancing on the tables" infers the dancing is an indirect consequence - similar to how a comedian may have us rolling on the floor (with laughter) or a sad story may have us crying in our beer.

He had us dance on the tables infers a command or directive - as in, "He told us to dance on the tables".


Very broadly, He had us dancing deals with the result: We were dancing on the table because of him.

He had us dance on the table deals more with the cause: Because of him we were dancing on the table.

Had/got makes little difference but roughly, the got moves the whole expression more towards the cause: Because of him…

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.