have + O + do / doing

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Takahero

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello.

Have can take both bare infinitives and present participles.


1.The comedian had the people
laugh.
2.The comedian had the people laughing.


What is the difference in meaning?
When do we use bare infinitives?
When do we use present participles?

Thank you.
 
  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    In the context of comedians making people laugh, the first sentence is incorrect. The second one is correct (although I’d prefer people to the people).
    The infinitive denotes completed action - I had the mechanic repair the car - and the present participle denotes unfinished action – It’s nice to have all these people making a fuss of me. (Cf. I played/I was playing.) In practice, however, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two forms. I certainly wouldn’t object to It’s nice to have all these people make a fuss of me.
    (Stylistically, it’s perhaps better to avoid two present participles. So It’s nice to have all these people making a fuss of me would be better than It’s nice having all these people making a fuss of me. But this is only a very minor point. Other people may disagree with me. The second sentence isn't grammatically incorrect. You can say It’s nice having all these people make a fuss of me.)
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I cannot see anything wrong with either example, and both have their place in expressing an experience.

    Number 1 is the simple present, indicating discrete instances of laughter, whereas 2. considers constant laughter:

    1.The comedian had the people
    laugh. - e.g. "Although the subject of his act was death by starvation, the comedian had the people laugh a few times at his more outrageous observations."

    2.The comedian had the people laughing. "It was a very good evening at the theatre; the comedian had the people laughing from the start.
     
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    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I take PaulQ's point. The first sentence is grammatically correct. But I'd still say He had us laughing at some of his jokes (intermittent laughter) and He had us laughing all the time (non-stop). Had us laugh seems to me to contain an idea of compulsion - he told us to laugh.
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    He had us laugh at his jokes suggests direct complicity; the laughter is at the bidding of the comedian, rather than a spontaneous reaction to his humour.

    It's not out of the question that someone could want to project this meaning.
     

    taked4700

    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    'Have' is an interesting verb. Teachers have their students clean the room. But the students cannot have their teacher clean the room. Or a policeman makes a robber raise his hands, but a citizen cannot have a robber raise his hands.

    'Have' connotes that the subject of this verb has some superiority over the other person. Teachers are given the right to force their students to clean the classroom. But comedians are not given the right to force his audience to laugh.
     

    JuanEscritor

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    I fully agree with Thomas. The first sentence tells us that the comedian forced his audience to laugh.

    The difference is not one of completed actions vs. uncompleted ones.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    The difference is not one of completed actions vs. uncompleted ones.
    In the case of Takahero's comedian perhaps not, although I'm not so sure. But it can be in other cases. I had the mechanic mend the car means that the job was finished. The comedian had us laughing our heads off doesn't. It's a description. It takes us into the middle of the action.
     
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    Takahero

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I understand that "in have + O + do", have used as a causative verb.
    But I don't understand the meaning of have in "have + O + doing".
    Could you tell me more clearly?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello Takaho,

    To have someone doing something
    can mean to cause someone to be occupied in doing something. But beware, there is a possibility of ambiguity:

    I had the children mowing the lawn can mean one of two, slightly different, things:

    1. I was in a state of having caused the children to mow the lawn.
    2. I was responsible for the children who were mowing the lawn. (NB. this doesn't mean that I was responsible for the children's mowing the lawn, just that I was there looking after the children and they were mowing the lawn)

    The difference is sutble, and which meaning was intended would be indicated by context - what was known about the relationship between you and the children, how naturally bossy you are, and similar considerations.

    Please don't try to get me to say that the one is possible and the other impossible, because I don't believe that is the case, though it's possible that in other circumstances, with different phrases, the balance might swing strongly towards meaning 1. or meaning 2. I suspect that this fact is what has caused a lot of minor disagreement in this thread.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    (Actually I had the children mowing the lawn could mean – although I agree it’s extremely unlikely – I gave birth to the children while I was mowing the lawn. But of course, Thomas doesn’t mean that.)
    You seem to understand the use of the infinitive, Takahero: I had the waitress bring me a cup of tea means I asked the waitress to bring me a cup of tea and she brought it.
    The meaning of have with the –ing form is the same. It’s just that there isn’t the same idea of completed action. The boss had me clean the windows – I cleaned them. The boss had me cleaning the windows – there’s no implication in this sentence that I finished cleaning them.

    (Taked4700’s idea of the superiority of one person over another is an interesting one. Clearly the boss is superior to me in that he can tell me what to do. But the idea needn’t be strong. It’s nice to have people make a fuss of me. People can stop making a fuss of me at any time and I couldn’t do anything about it. But at least they’re making a fuss of me for my benefit.
    In terms of register, the construction can convey the idea of officiousness. I had the waitress bring me a cup of tea almost sounds as if I was ordering her about. I'd be more likely to say I asked the waitress to bring me a cup of tea.)
     
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    Takahero

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    (Actually I had the children mowing the lawn could mean – although I agree it’s extremely unlikely – I gave birth to the children while I was mowing the lawn. But of course, Thomas doesn’t mean that.)
    You seem to understand the use of the infinitive, Takahero: I had the waitress bring me a cup of tea means I asked the waitress to bring me a cup of tea and she brought it.
    The meaning of have with the –ing form is the same. It’s just that there isn’t the same idea of completed action. The boss had me clean the windows – I cleaned them. The boss had me cleaning the windows – there’s no implication in this sentence that I finished cleaning them.

    (Taked4700’s idea of the superiority of one person over another is an interesting one. Clearly the boss is superior to me in that he can tell me what to do. But the idea needn’t be strong. It’s nice to have people make a fuss of me. People can stop making a fuss of me at any time and I couldn’t do anything about it. But at least they’re making a fuss of me for my benefit.
    In terms of register, the construction can convey the idea of officiousness. I had the waitress bring me a cup of tea almost sounds as if I was ordering her about. I'd be more likely to say I asked the waitress to bring me a cup of tea.)
    Thank you.
    Does you explanation apply to get?

    3.The comedian got the people laughing.
    4.The comedian got the people laugh.

    What is the difference between get and have?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Big difference:

    3. The comedian got the people laughing - means the comedian's actions provoked the people into laughter, with the suggestion that the laughter persisted, without further provocation.

    3a. The comedian had the people laughing - means the comedian's action provoked the people into laughter on several occasions.

    4. The comedian got the people laugh won't do. We wouldn't say that.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Unlike Thomas, I wouldn't say had the people laughing implies several occasions. You could say He soon had us laughing. Perhaps Thomas and I will have to agree to differ on this point.
    I'd say got was more colloquial than had.
    It can also stress the start of something. He got a fire going - he lit a fire.
    There's very often less stress on the idea of compulsion. We soon had him begging for mercy - compulsion. Perhaps you can get your father to help you - ask or persuade him to help you.
    You can have get with the present particple or to+infinitive. The present participle denotes unfinished action. To+infinitve denotes completed action.
    She got me talking about my summer holidays.
    We got Mrs Smith to give us a demonstration of flower arranging.
     
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