Have someone do something usually means asking a subordinate or a qualified worker etc to do something. But I keep coming across this construction, only with what seems to be a different meaning. I'd love it if somebody could shed some light on it, or refer me to a source where I can find out more about it.

I notice, sometimes it involves an -ing verb, as opposed to a bare infinitive, but a common thread in all the cases is that the individual it refers to is an "experiencer", on the receiving end of some sort of action (or reaction, as they might also be the cause of it too, as seen below in the rat example)

A few examples:

  • "Oh, I'm sorry- you stand here and have that damn thing pop out at you and you not jump! And it was a rat, not a mouse."
  • "I'm not going to have anybody laugh at you, don't worry."
  • "You can make a movie out of it today, and have it be extremely popular"
  • "... may have you scratching your head as to what to do next"
  • " This has had me wondering: How are..."
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Grammatical construction of "to have happen". Your fifth example (and arguably your fourth) is causative. The others here are paraphrasable as 'experience' or 'allow' (with suitable constructions). Apr 20 '18 at 13:13
  • HAVE-SOMEONE/SOMETHING-DO? I have never been able to relate it grammatically. I have used, Have it retyped; have them received, and accommodated; have this envelope posted, etc. But, 'Have them receive, have her work, have it post? Shall appreciate someone's help...
    – Ram Pillai
    Feb 4 '20 at 10:46
  • youtu.be/syBRZGU95aA
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 2 '20 at 21:15
  • @EdwinAshworth, the link you mentioned in the comment talks about something different; it doesn't answer the OP's question.
    – Ram Pillai
    Jan 29 at 10:40
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth; I think I have got the required clarification. JamesM's answer is a mess, but the first links speaks clearly. :) It goes like, a) I had him wash the car (= I had him washing the car); I had the car washed; I got it washed; I got someone 'to' wash it (with a slightly different meaning); I made someone wash the car. I asked this clarification because I used to be quite comfortable (still I am), with the usages, I had the car washed/ I got it washed. I appreciate your clarification.
    – Ram Pillai
    Jan 29 at 23:28

The word "have" is a very permissive verb. I think you hit on the answer exactly. The sense of the word "have" in your examples refers to "having the experience of", whereas your original position means to "possess" something.


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