Would you agree to the following guidelines:

In the Passive voice, the causatives "have" and "get" have the same meaning, but 'get' is less formal

In the Active voice, the causatives "have" and "get" have a different meaning: Have (ask for a service), Get (persuade)

Thank you

  • They had us build a prototype. How would you recast that in the passive?
    – TimR
    Mar 4, 2019 at 12:43
  • There is no "have" version of "Cake gets eaten at birthday parties."
    – remarkl
    Mar 4, 2019 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


The four possible patterns with causative "have" and "get" are the following (I will use TRomano's example in the comment above):

  1. They had us build a prototype.
  2. They had a prototype built.
  3. They got us to build a prototype.
  4. They got a prototype built.

They are all in the active form, but (2) and (4) do not mention the builder and can thus be deemed to include a passive structure.

In (1) and (3) "have" and "get" are synonyms, meaning "persuade" or "order". Besides, according to the Longman dictionary causative "have" in pattern (1) is mainly AmE:

b) to persuade or order someone to do something

have somebody do something especially American English

I’ll have Hudson show you to your room.

  1. to persuade or force someone to do something

get somebody to do something

I’ll get Terry to check the wiring for me.

We couldn’t get him to sign the agreement.

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