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1. Have something done

The causative form have something done is a type of passive used when we ask another person, usually a professional, to do something for us.
I have my chimney swept every two years.
He had his teeth checked last week.

2. Structure of Have something done 

To form a sentence using have something done, first we put the subject (the person who benefits from the action), then the verb have in the corresponding verb tense, followed by the complement (what receives the action of the verb), and then the main verb in past participle.

Subject + have + complemeno + main verb in past participle

Below we show this structure in different verb tenses.

Verb tense Examples
Present simple I have my hair cut once a month.
I don't have my hair cut once a month.
Do you have your hair cut once a month?
Present continuous He is having his computer fixed.
He isn't having his computer fixed.
Is he having his computer fixed?
Past simple She had her dress shortened.
She didn't have her dress shortened.
Did she have her dress shortened?
Past continuous She was having her legs waxed.
She wasn't having her legs waxed.
She was having her legs waxed.
Present perfect We have already had our lock changed.
We haven't had our lock changed yet.
Have you had your lock changed yet?
Past perfect He had had his arm tattooed before.
He hadn't had his arm tattooed before.
Had he had his arm tattooed before?
Future will I will have my birthday dinner cooked.
I won't have my birthday dinner cooked.
Will you have your birthday dinner cooked?
Future going to They are going to have their kitchen painted.
They aren't going to have their kitchen painted.
Are they going to have their kitchen painted?

This structure is also used with modal verbs:

Modal Example
Can Where can I have my work printed?
Must We must have an alarm installed.
Might I might have this photo enlarged.
Could We could have a barbecue built in the garden.
Should You should have your eyes tested.
Would I would have the chairs upholstered.

3. Uses of Have something done

The have something done structure is mainly used:

  • When we ask someone to perform a service for us. It is usually used when we talk about professionals (hairdresser, mechanic...).
    When you do it yourself
    She is dying her hair.
    When someone else does it
    She is having her hair dyed.
  • When someone is affected by an unpleasant action that they did not cause.
    When you do it yourself
    He broke the window of my car.
    When someone else does it
    I had the window of my car broken.

The verb get can be used instead of have in informal contexts.

I'm having / getting my motorbike repaired.

Remember!

The causative form have something done is a type of passive used when we ask another person to do something for us.
Tense Form Structure Examples
Present simple + Subject + have / has + complement + verb in past participle I have the floors polished once a year.
- Subject + don't / doesn't + have + complement +verb in past participle I don't have the floors polished.
? Do / does + subject + have + complement +verb in past participle Do you have the floors polished?
Present continuous + Subject + am / is / are + having + complement +verb in past participle She is having her grass cut.
- Subject + am not / isn't / aren't + having + complement + verb in past participle She isn't having her grass cut.
? Am / is / are + subject + having + complement + verb in past participle Is she having her grass cut?
Past simple + Subject + had + complement + verb in past participle We had a photo taken.
- Subject + didn't + have + complement + verb in past participle We didn't have a photo taken.
? Did + subject + have + complement + verb in past participle Did you have a photo taken?
Past continuous + Subject + was / were + having + complement + verb in past participle He was having his car cleaned.
- Subject + wasn't / weren't + having + complement + verb in past participle He wasn't having his car cleaned.
? Was / were + subject + having + complement + verb in past participle Was he having his car cleaned?
Present perfect + Subject  + have / has + had + complement + verb in past participle I have had a sweater knitted.
- Subject + haven't / hasn't + had + complement + verb in past participle I haven't had a sweater knitted.
? Have / has + subject + had + complement + verb in past participle Have you had a sweater knitted?
Past perfect + Subject + had + had + complement + verb n past participle I had had my ear pierced before.
- Subject + hadn't + had + complement + verb in past participle I hadn't had my ear pierced.
? Had + subject + had + complement + verb in past participle Had you had your ear pierced before?
Future will + Subject + will + have + complement + verb in past participle I will have the shopping delivered.
- Sujeto + won't + have + complemento + verbo en participio I won't have the shopping delivered.
? Will + subject + have + complement + verb in past participle Will you have the shopping delivered?
Future going to + Subject + am / is / are + going to + have + complement + verb in past participle We are going to have the heating installed.
- Subject + am not / isn't / aren't + going to + have + complement + verb in past participle We aren't going to have the heating installed.
? Am / is / are + subject + going to + have + complement + verb in past participle Are you going to have the heating installed?
Modal passive + Subject + modal verb + have + complement + verb in past participle You could have your socks mended.
- Subject + modal verb + not + have + complement + verb in past participle I might not have my socks mended.
? Modal verb + subject + have + complement + verb in past participle Should I have my socks mended?

 

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