get someone to do or have someone do?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by cheshire, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    (1) He came back from Baghdad with no progress at all in getting Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait.
    (2) ...in having Saddam Hussein withdraw from Kuwait.
    I learned "have someone do" is more "imperative, bossy" than "get someone to do." Does that rule apply here?

    I mean, I thought (1) implies "we (the United Nations, the USA, etc.) asked Saddam to withdraw his troops from Kuwait", while (2) implies "we coercively drove Saddaum out of Kuwait." Is my interpretation wrong?
     
  2. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    "To get someone to do something" suggests that you talked to the person and convinced him to do something.

    "To have someone do something" simply states that you arranged for someone to do something, whether or not that person did it voluntarily.
     
  3. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    (3) I put mayonaise on my shirt.
    (4) I got mayonaise on my shirt.

    (3) is intentional, but (4) is unintentional.
    I wonder why if the object of "get" is an anamate, such meaning as you explained arises!
     
  4. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo Mod, I say, Moderator

    Arizona
    American English
    "to get" has so many uses. None can be governed by just one rule. Elroy's explanation only applies to the difference between "to have someone do" and "to get someone to do" something, as you asked in your original question.

    I agree with elroy's simple explanation. :)
     
  5. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Oh, I think I got it.

    get[smacks of "unintention"] --> get someone to ["unintention" translates to "not coercing"] --> ask someone
     
  6. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    This is a dangerous oversimplification of "to get," which, as Fenixpollo implies, is a complex verb.

    My friends and I got together and got drunk.

    The first of these is definitely intentional, and the second can be.
    Actually, the "get" part does not equate with "ask." If you get someone to do something, that means you have succeeded in convincing him to do it. You might try to get someone to do something by asking him to do it.

    I think if you forget about the whole intention thing you might have an easier time understanding this. :)
     
  7. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I do not see that distinction in these examples.
    To have someone do something does not really indicate willingness on the part of the doer.
    To get someone to do something also lacks informaton about the willingness of the doer.
    To force someone to do something is quite clear.
    There are many words that indicate compulsion such as; compel /oblige /make /drive /coerce /push /press /influence

    Get and have are simply too vague to carry any real clout regarding the willingness of the participant.

    I put mayonaise on my shirt indicates that I intentionally placed mayonaise on my shirt.
    I got mayonaise on my shirt means only that my shirt got mayonaise on it but it does not say if the mayonaise was accidentally on the shirt nor that the mayonaise was intentionally on the shirt.
    Different words or context would be required to clarify the intention.

    .,,
     
  8. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I can't imagine a context where "I got mayonnaise on my shirt" would indicate that it was done intentionally. Maybe I'm just tired or not thinking straight.

    Can you set one up for me to see?

    To me, it has a definite connotation that it was accidental or unintentional.

    "I got him to..." does indicate, to me, that "he" was originally disinclined to do whatever it was. It would not make sense to me to say, "He was very excited about going to the party, so I got him to go." There's a disconnect there. "I got him to..." means that some convincing was required, at least to my way of thinking.
     
  9. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    Be very careful when you make an assumption about English. Generalizations do not go well with this language :)
     
  10. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    No, I don't think that works.

    Here's an everyday example of how "get" differs from "have", in my mind:

    "I'll get my brother to pick you up at the airport." The "get" means that I will arrange to have my brother pick you up, but that I'm not in a position of superiority over my brother. I might have to trade him something for the favor.

    "I'll have my driver pick you up at the airport." The "have" means that I am in a position to determine what my driver does, since he is my employee, and so I will tell him to pick you up at the airport. There is no negotiation involved or favor being done.
     
  11. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    AmEnglish/German
    I agree with James on this.
     
  12. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks, I think I understand it now.
     
  13. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    The "have" in "have someone do something" indicates "possess".

    The "get" in "get someone to do something" indicates "result".

    Other meanings associated with a specific context must be looked at individually. Summarizing rules for these meanings and using such rules would confuse a non native speaker.
     
  14. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    No, that's a different "have". :) "I have my hair done at Lutece" doesn't have anything to do with possession. It means that you go to the salon called Lutece and they cut or style your hair. You pay them to undertake the task of cutting or styling your hair.

    A villain in a crime drama: "Have him killed." This has nothing to do with possession. It means "assign someone the task of killing him."

    Merriam-Webster lists 24 different meanings of the verb "have", and I'm fairly sure that's not an exhaustive list. As elroy said nearly five years ago, it is very dangerous to oversimplify the meaning of "have". It has many meanings.
     
  15. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    What I have said is: The "have" in "have someone do something" indicates "possess".

    "have" in "have something done" or "have somebody + perfect tense" doesn't have meaning of "possess"
     
  16. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I'm afraid that's incorrect. "I had my gardener trim the hedges" isn't about possession. It means "I gave my gardener the task of trimming the hedges".

    Other examples:

    I have Linda cut my hair.
    I had the night duty officer write up the report.
    I'll have the plumber take a look at that leak.

    These all have to do with assigning someone a task.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  17. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    "assigning someone a task" is all about something in your hands and under your control. You dominate or possess an "action" rather than property. What I am trying to do is to summarize the fundamental meaning of the word and associate other meanings of the sentence with the context.
     
  18. Pertinax

    Pertinax Senior Member

    Queensland, Aust
    BrE->AuE
    That's an interesting way of looking at it. The OED has this to say about the evolution of "have":

    From a primitive sense ‘to hold (in hand)’, "have" has passed naturally into that of ‘hold in possession,’ ‘possess,’ and has thence been extended to express a more general class of relations, of which ‘possession’ is one type, some of which are very vague and intangible... The extended use of "have" and its equivalents to express [the static relation between the subject and object] is a general feature of the modern languages. Like the two other generalized verbal types "be" and "do", "have" also tends to uses in which it becomes a mere element of predication, scarcely capable of explanation apart from the context, and at length an auxiliary verb.
     
  19. Pertinax

    Pertinax Senior Member

    Queensland, Aust
    BrE->AuE
    I've noticed a number of examples above where a BrE speaker might be more inclined to use "get" than "have" - e.g.
    I get Linda to cut my hair.
    I got the night duty officer to write up the report.
    I'll get the plumber to take a look at that leak.


    In this example, I would more likely to get my driver to pick you up, and ask my brother to. I think that what has happened is that BrE "get" has displaced "have" in many informal contexts. As a result, "get" sometimes comes over as rather strong - having to do the job of both AmE "get" and AmE "have" - and so some of its workload is sometimes delegated to a verb like "ask". It sounds to me a little overbearing to say "I'll get my brother to..." in this context.
     
  20. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    As Pertinax said, that's an interesting way to look at it. I'm not sure that it would occur to most native speakers I know.
     
  21. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    It does imply that my brother will do it, with a little persuasion. If I say I'll ask my brother there is the possibility that he will say no. I suppose, then, that there is some confidence that I will be able to persuade him.
     
  22. bis Senior Member

    Italy
    italian
    How about this example "I'll have you call back by your son"? Here a guy is talking to his friend's mom so he has no power over him. I also heard to have someone doing what is the difference?
     
  23. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    It's not typical American English, bis. I would expect "I'll have your son call you back" or "I'll have your son give you a call".

    To me it implies that it is a certainty and that the person speaking is confident that the son will call her back.
     
  24. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    It's different for me. I couldn't produce either of those sentences. I'd say "I'll get your son to call you back" if I were confident that I could persuade this person's son to pick up the phone.

    I seem to remember that Matching Mole, in his role as moderator, once wrote that "to have somebody do something" is rare in BrE, but I can't find the post :(.
     
  25. bis Senior Member

    Italy
    italian
    Sounds like "get s.o. to do" and "have s.o. do" are basically the same, because everybody here says to have someone do something means like having control over someone else from being in a position of authority, so that example kind of leads me off track:eek:
     
  26. paieye Senior Member

    England
    English - British
    To have someone do something is an American usage, which has not yet taken root in British usage. To get someone to do something in British usage implies some persuasion. If the message is that it will happen by command, as distinct from persuasion, the British usage would be to see that someone does something.
     
  27. xgll004 Senior Member

    Shanghai
    Chinese
    Hi guys,
    what about “make someone do something” and “make something done”?what "make" indicate here?

     
  28. paieye Senior Member

    England
    English - British
    In your 1st example, 'make someone do' = 'compel someone to do,' and is perfectly correct. Your 2nd example is not grammatically-correct. You need 'get' instead of 'make.'
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2012
  29. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    "That would be like me complaining everytime I get hassled crossing the US side of the border, and I frequently do cross the border.
    Hell I even had one pinhead at US customs actually grill me about how and why I have friends in the US when I live in Canada. Twice I've had my car all but torn apart at US customs. I've even had US customs officials demand the phone number and address of the friends or family I've been going to visit just so they could call them and confirm my "story"."

    Source: http://www.topix.com/forum/world/canada/TU3MGS1U7K5QPP6EP post #5


    How to understand "I've even had US customs officials demand the phone number..."? Does "had" indicate assigning a task? (I don't see this meaning in this context.)
     
  30. Tazzler Senior Member

    Maryland
    American English
    No, it means that the person experiences something, usually something negative. Look at this:

    I had my purse stolen.

    This simply means "someone stole my person" but it paints you as more of a victim. "someone stole my person" is neutral.
     
  31. kaushalsingh

    kaushalsingh New Member

    delhi
    english
    To get someone to do is you asked the person to do it and he is ready to do that for you..but have someone do looks you are not bothered about it...Isn't it?
     
  32. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    :arrow: Response to most recent question.
    Hello kaushalsingh,

    Welcome to the forum. :)

    If I understand you correctly, I agree with you about what these words mean when you are talking about something that you wanted done. :)

    If you got someone to do something, you exerted some effort, even if it was only asking them to do it. Perhaps you also had to persuade them, or to argue with them.

    If you had someone do something, it seems that all you had to do was say they should do it, and they did.

    At least, this is what I would say on the basis of the sentences by themselves when we are talking about something you want someone to do. In post 29, Sunyear gives an example of a different meaning for 'have someone do something'.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
  33. paieye Senior Member

    England
    English - British
    Sunyaer and others, my apology, I was forgetting that A.E. usage is different in this respect.
     
  34. sunyaer Senior Member

    Chinese
    1. "I've even had US customs officials demand the phone number and address of the friends..."

    is different from

    2. "I had my purse stolen."

    I know that sentence 2 indicates an experience. Senence 1 has the pattern of "have someone do something", does it mean an experience?
     

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