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Have Something Done


Study this example situation:

The roof of Lisa’s house was damaged in a storm. Yesterday a workman came and repaired it. Lisa had the roof repaired yesterday. This means: Lisa arranged for somebody else to repair the roof. She didin’t repair it herself.

We use have something done to say that we arrange for somebody else to do something for us. Compare:

  • Lisa repaired the roof. (= she repaired it herself)
  • Lisa had the roof repaired. (=she arranged for somebody else to repair it)
  • Did you make those curtains yourself? Yes, I enjoy making thins.
  • Did you have those curtains made? No, I made them myself.

Get something done

You can also say ‘get something done’ instead of ‘have something done’ (mainly in informal spoken English):

  • When are you going to get the roof repaired? (= have the roof repaired)
  • I think you should get your hair cut really short.

Sometimes have something done has a different meaning. For example:

Paul and Karen had all their money stolen while they were on holiday.

This doesn’t mean that they arranged for somebody to steal their money. They had all their money stolen means only: ‘All their money was stolen from them’.

With this meaning, we use have something done to say that something happens to somebody or their belongings. Usually what happens is not nice:

  • Gary had his nose broken in the fight. (= his nose was broken)
  • Have you ever had your passport stolen?

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