Causative have

Maïté73

Senior Member
French
Good evening!

I have a question regarding the causative have.
I know there are three types, have something done by someone/have someone do something and have someone begin (with -ing form) to do something.

In the following sentence, I don't understand why we use the 3d type and not the 2nd one:

"From the first note of the first movement to the last note of the finale, Ricardo Chailly had his audience sitting on the edge of their seats"
Aren't we focussing on the complete event (this looks quite obvious, don't you think?)
or maybe we focus on the on-going process?

I would have written : "he has his audience sit on the edge of their seats"
Thanks a lot!
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I am having a little difficulty sorting out your types, because I find abstracted forms of sentences difficult to follow. However, if you say:
    He has his audience sit on the edge of their seats.
    we will think that he directed the audience to sit on the edge of their seats.

    The original sentence means that Ricardo Chailly's playing (or whatever he did) caused his audience to sit on the edge of their seats. This is a way of saying that they <were> intensely interested in what they were hearing.

    Note: You should name the source of every quotation and tell us something about its context. If I knew what Ricardo Chailly did, I could write an explanation more easily.
     
    Last edited:

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I have a question regarding the causative have. ....
    I would have written : "he has his audience sit on the edge of their seats"
    As Cagey says, "he has his audience sit on the edge of their seats" means they sit there in obedience to his direction. This is a sentence of the same category as the ones you mention earlier: where someone orders or directs someone else to do something.

    However, "From the first note of the first movement to the last note of the finale, Ricardo Chailly had his audience sitting on the edge of their seats" :tick: is a sentence of a different kind. This is expressing the result of a performance. It is nothing to do with directing or requiring someone to do something.

    That is why it does not have the basic verb form 'sit' (also called 'bare infinitive') following 'had'.
    Instead, this sentence says 'had the audience sitting...' :tick:
    'Sitting' is the present participle, equivalent here to an adjective. You could equally well have a past participle 'had the audience engrossed' or an adjectival phrase 'had the audience in awe' or 'in stiches' (as a comedian might).
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello Maïté,

    I'm not very clear about your description of the three types of causative have; in particular about the difference between the 2nd and 3rd types.

    However we can say both to have someone do something, and to have someone doing something. Your example sentence uses the second of these and your proposed sentence uses the first (with the wrong tense).

    You ask about whether we are focusing on the complete event or on an on-going process, and, by implication, about which of these two forms is appropriate in the example sentence.

    To have someone do something usually means to deliberately cause, or command, someone to do something: He had the children sit down usually means he told the children to sit down.

    To have someone doing something usually means to deliberately cause someone to be engaged in doing something: He had the children drawing pictures usually means he caused the children to spend the time drawing pictures.

    Your suggested He had his audience sit on the edge of their seats suggests that the conductor started the concert by telling the audience to sit on the edge of their seats.

    The actual He had his audience sitting on the edge of their seats isn't like the teacher having the children drawing. There is no instruction from the conductor to the audience to sit in this way. This is a different sort of indirect causative. The playing is so mesmeric that the audience was caused to sit on the edge of their seats.

    I see I agree very largely with Cagey about this.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top