While I can easily parse this sentence, something feels grammatically incorrect and I can't figure out what rule would make it right or wrong.

"Fatigue from traveling had him in bed by midnight."

I've tried replacing the words to look at it in other ways, but I still get confused. For example "His mother had him in the car before sunrise." In this case, it sounds like the sentence is missing a verb?

  • 1
    Why would you think there was a problem?
    – J. Taylor
    Apr 19, 2018 at 20:18
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    It hits my ear wrong. So I asked. Apr 19, 2018 at 20:20
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    I don't see anything 'wrong' with it but it is an interesting sentence for more than one reason. 'Fatigue [...] put him to bed [...]' I agree would be a bit odd.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 19, 2018 at 21:20
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    I don't see or hear anything unusual about the sentence. But if it does not ring right, then change it.
    – J. Taylor
    Apr 19, 2018 at 21:42
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    @NigelJ Americans often spell traveling with one L.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 19, 2018 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


A construction includes a syntactic frame and an associated meaning.

The example seems weird to you because the construction X have [passive S] has a meaning that X caused S to happen indirectly, and usually intentionally: e.g.,

I'll have you thrown out on the streets!

Since fatigue is not an intentional agent, it's a metaphorical use of the construction, which is why it sounds a bit odd at first, but the metaphorical meaning is clear.

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