HAVE/GET AND WANT SOMETHING DONE
1) Have or get something done
We can use get or have followed by an object + past participle when we want to say that somebody arranges for something to be done by someone else.
- We had/got the car delivered to the airport. (= it was delivered)
- While I was in Singapore I had/got my eyes tested. (= they were tested)
NOTE: Got in this pattern is normally only used in conversation and informal writing. Notice that the word order is important.
- We had the car delivered to the airport. (Someone else delivered the car) and
- We had delivered the car to the airport. (= past perfect; we delivered the car)
ç We use have if it is clear that the person referred to in the subject of the sentence is not responsible for or has no control over what happens.
- I had my appendix removed when I was six.
- They had their car broken into again.
NOTE: However, in informal speech some people use get in sentences like this.
ç We use get when we say that the person referred to in the subject of the sentence does something themselves, causes what happens, perhaps accidentally, or is to blame for it.
- I’ll get the house cleaned if you cook the dinner. (= I’ll clean the house)
- Sue got her fingers trapped in the bicycle chain. (Sue trapped her fingers)
NOTE: We prefer have if we want to focus on the result of the action rather than the action itself.
- I’ll have the house cleaned by the time you get home.
- Sue had her fingers trapped in the bike chain for half an hour.
ç We use won’t (or will not) have, not get, if we want to say that we won’t allow something to happen to someone or something.
- I won’t have him spoken to like that.
- I won’t have my name dragged through the dirt by the press.
2) Want something done
WE use need, prefer, want, and would like followed by an object + past participle to say that we need, prefer, etc. something to be done. Notice that we can include to be before the past participle form with a similar meaning. After need we can use an object + ing-form with the same meaning, but we can’t use to be with an ing-form.
- Be careful washing those glasses! I don’t want them (to be) broken.
- We needed the house (to be) redecorated. (or …the house redecorated.)
- I’d like my car (to be) serviced, please.
NOTE: We can also use hear, feel, see and watch followed by an object + past participle to talk about hearing, etc. something happen. After fee, the object is often a reflexive pronoun.
- I haven’t heard the piece played before. and
- I felt myself thrown forward.
- I heard her called Toni. (passive meaning; = she was called Toni) and
- I heard Sue call Toni. (active meaning; = Sue called Toni)