I'm better than what they have me doing.

Why do we speak like this? What is the role of "have" in the sentence? Why do we use ing after verb?

  • What is the context? What do you think the sentence means? – John Lawler Jun 20 '18 at 18:59
  • context: I'm better than what they have me doing. the meaning of sentence is clear (speaker have to do something), but I don't know the rule that allows us speak like this – Максим Коренев Jun 20 '18 at 19:08
  • 1
    Possible duplicate: english.stackexchange.com/questions/208233/… – user240918 Jun 20 '18 at 19:12
  • yes, it is very similar, they say: "To have somebody DO something most commonly means to cause somebody to do something (eg, ask, force, pay).", but in my sentence have somebody DOING something? – Максим Коренев Jun 20 '18 at 19:46

This is definition #6 at dictionary.com

to cause to, as by command or invitation: Have him come here at five.

They're ordering you to do something.

We add -ing to the action to make it a gerund, so we can treat it as a noun. This is necessary for the comparison in "I'm better than".


"have" has two meanings, possession or action.

"I have a car." You possess a car. This isn't an action, it is a statement of possession.

"I have taken a bath." You took the action of getting in the bath and bathing.

"they have me doing" utilized the second meaning of taking an action. They are making you take an action, and that action is.... doing something.

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