my father had his car repaired yesterday

Chouquette

Senior Member
france french
Bonjour,

En anglais dans la tournure mon père a fait réparer sa voiture hier:
my father had his car repaired yesterday

Je ne peux pas mettre has made ou made?
J'ai honte, mais je préfère poser la question et m'améliorer.:confused:

Merci Chouquette:)
 
  • carolineR

    Senior Member
    France
    NO
    to have something done = faire faire quelque chose (à qq un)
    I had my hair done yesterday (and it was a catastrophy !) :eek:
    we had the house cleaned by a team of professional cleaners :)
     

    Chouquette

    Senior Member
    france french
    Hello Caroline,:)
    You're very nice
    Thank you.

    (Je me pose souvent des questions qui paraissent idiotes mais qui me posent soudain un problème, merci)

    Chouquette.
    NO
    to have something done = faire faire quelque chose (à qq un)
    I had my hair done yesterday (and it was a catastrophy !) :eek:
    we had the house cleaned by a team of professional cleaners :)
     

    Chouquette

    Senior Member
    france french
    Dear Caroline,

    If it's today, so : My father has his car repaired.
    Yes or no?
    Thank you in advance.
    Chouquette. :)

    NO
    to have something done = faire faire quelque chose (à qq un)
    I had my hair done yesterday (and it was a catastrophy !) :eek:
    we had the house cleaned by a team of professional cleaners :)
     

    NorthCarolinian

    Senior Member
    English USA
    My father had his car repaired today (said later in the day i.e. technically in the past).
    My father is having his car repaired today (while it is happening, or perhaps it is soon to happen).
    My father will have his car repaired today (clearly future).
    My father's car is being repaired today (clearly happening right now).
     

    Chouquette

    Senior Member
    france french
    Hello NorthCarolinian,

    Ah English Grammar! very diffult!
    Sometimes it's not the same time in French than in English.
    Thank you very muche
    Chouquette.:)

    My father had his car repaired today (said later in the day i.e. technically in the past).
    My father is having his car repaired today (while it is happening, or perhaps it is soon to happen).
    My father will have his car repaired today (clearly future).
    My father's car is being repaired today (clearly happening right now).
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Chouquette said:
    Je ne peux pas mettre has made ou made?
    All the quoted examples use this structure
    Noun1 + HAVE + Noun2 + V-ed (past participle)

    That translates sentences of the type :
    Il a fait chanter la chanson - He had the song sung.
    (where the song is sung - Noun2 undergoes the action)

    But there's another possibility :
    Il a fait chanter les enfants
    (where the children sing - Noun2 performs the action)

    When I learnt English at school, a long long time ago, I was taught that the latter would be translated as :
    Noun1 + MAKE + Noun2 + V (bare infinitive).

    Nowadays, it seems HAVE is more and more used in all cases
    --->
    He made the children sing - correct but not very frequent
    He had the children sing - commonly used

    You have to go with the change, haven't you? :)
     

    NorthCarolinian

    Senior Member
    English USA
    I don't think we anglophones ever learn any rules like that - I think it's all extremely intuitive for us - you folks almost certainly know more rules of English grammar than we do - too many exceptions in English - I'd hate to have to learn English as a second language!!!
     

    NorthCarolinian

    Senior Member
    English USA
    All the quoted examples use this structure
    Noun1 + HAVE + Noun2 + V-ed (past participle)

    That translates sentences of the type :
    Il a fait chanter la chanson - He had the song sung.
    (where the song is sung - Noun2 undergoes the action)

    But there's another possibility :
    Il a fait chanter les enfants
    (where the children sing - Noun2 performs the action)

    When I learnt English at school, a long long time ago, I was taught that the latter would be translated as :
    Noun1 + MAKE + Noun2 + V (bare infinitive).

    Nowadays, it seems HAVE is more and more used in all cases
    --->
    He made the children sing - correct but not very frequent
    He had the children sing - commonly used

    You have to go with the change, haven't you? :)


    Hmmm - for me "He made the children sing" doesn't sound any more dated or old-fashioned than "He had the children sing" - not at all.

    For me "He made the children sing" connotes to some degree a bit of coercion - "He made the children sing even though they didn't want to initially". There is clearly a sense of coercion or forcefulness when you "Make someone do something". For example in the schoolyard one child might say "Pick up that stick" and the other child might say "Make me" as a sort of challenge.

    To say "He had the children sing" to me conveys a sense that is less forceful than "He made the children sing" but neither one sounds newer or older than the other to my ear.
     

    john_riemann_soong

    Senior Member
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    All the quoted examples use this structure
    Noun1 + HAVE + Noun2 + V-ed (past participle)

    That translates sentences of the type :
    Il a fait chanter la chanson - He had the song sung.
    (where the song is sung - Noun2 undergoes the action)

    But there's another possibility :
    Il a fait chanter les enfants
    (where the children sing - Noun2 performs the action)

    When I learnt English at school, a long long time ago, I was taught that the latter would be translated as :
    Noun1 + MAKE + Noun2 + V (bare infinitive).

    Nowadays, it seems HAVE is more and more used in all cases
    --->
    He made the children sing - correct but not very frequent
    He had the children sing - commonly used

    You have to go with the change, haven't you? :)


    Isn't "I had my car repaired" primarily the passive voice - e.g. I consented to have my car repaired by someone.

    This is distinguished from making something happen, e.g. "The gang boss had his rebellious subordinate shot." One can end up with a two-agent scenario, with active voice + passive voice in the same sentence.

    Also, "he made the children sing" is just about as frequent as "he had the children sing", methinks. It depends on the context. "to make qqn do qch" seems more like an act of raw force or desperation, and to "have qqn do qqch" seems more like an act of coolness (though not necessarily any less coercive).

    e.g. "the police made him spit out the information" versus "the serial killer had his victim plead slowly for her life" and so forth.

    I can envision "having someone to do something" requiring a "faire" construction in French, but to have my car repaired?
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    Hmmm - for me "He made the children sing" doesn't sound any more dated or old-fashioned than "He had the children sing" - not at all.

    For me "He made the children sing" connotes to some degree a bit of coercion - "He made the children sing even though they didn't want to initially". There is clearly a sense of coercion or forcefulness when you "Make someone do something". For example in the schoolyard one child might say "Pick up that stick" and the other child might say "Make me" as a sort of challenge.

    To say "He had the children sing" to me conveys a sense that is less forceful than "He made the children sing" but neither one sounds newer or older than the other to my ear.
    He had the children sing = il a fait chanter les enfants
    he made the children sing = il a obligé les enfants à chanter
     

    john_riemann_soong

    Senior Member
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    Or Singlish, keep the agreement and drop the tense (but not aspect!): Already forgot all those rules liao, but I don't think we be any worse off, hor. :p

    But this does clear up something I saw the other day, about the "faire imperative + infinitive" ... I think I get it now. What if you were commanding someone to "have her shoot him"? (Another gangster situation, again. :p)
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    ... et c'est une autre structure grammaticale, donc une autre question. ;)

    John, soyez gentil de ne pas faire dévier les fils des autres personnes, et de créer vos propres fils lorsque vous posez des questions hors sujet.

    Merci de votre attention,
    Agnès
    Modératrice
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Isn't "I had my car repaired" primarily the passive voice - e.g. I consented to have my car repaired by someone.
    Sorry, I'd missed a few posts. Of course, I agree. That's what I meant when I said "performs the action" and "undergoes the action". I don't know why I didn't use the word "passive".

    Thanks to NorthCarolinian, jrs and egueule for the clarification about make vs have. It makes perfect sense.
    Now I do remember I was taught that as well. But ten years later.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Nowadays, it seems HAVE is more and more used in all cases
    --->
    He made the children sing - correct but not very frequent
    He had the children sing - commonly used
    You're right, yet the meaning is slightly different. Make is coercitive while have is not.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Chouquette don't forget there is a trap in the corresponding relative clause.

    My father had his car repaired yesterday.
    = Mon père a fait réparer sa voiture hier.

    This is the car (that / which) my father had repaired yesterday.
    = Voici la voiture que mon père a fait réparer hier.
     

    NorthCarolinian

    Senior Member
    English USA
    Now there's the one rule in English grammar that at least I'm aware of, even though I don't use it.

    That vs. which

    One would use "that" to restrict or to clarify (among all the cars in the world this is the one that my father had repaired yesterday).

    One is supposed to use "which" to supply additional information ("He gave us some chocolate which was very good".)

    Having said all that 99.9% of English speakers don't worry about this distinction and use whichever word happens to occur to them without regard for this rule of grammar.

    Formally, "That" is for restrictive clauses, "which" is for non-restrictive.
     

    john_riemann_soong

    Senior Member
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    You're right, yet the meaning is slightly different. Make is coercitive while have is not.

    Not necessarily ... "have" emphasises less on the coercion on someone, and on the power to do something. e.g. God (let's say) doesn't need to make it rain somewhere, he could simply have it rain somewhere.

    I'm also reminded of Picard:

    "Make it so."

    But there is also

    "Have it so".
     

    john_riemann_soong

    Senior Member
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    Sorry, I'd missed a few posts. Of course, I agree. That's what I meant when I said "performs the action" and "undergoes the action". I don't know why I didn't use the word "passive".

    Thanks to NorthCarolinian, jrs and egueule for the clarification about make vs have. It makes perfect sense.
    Now I do remember I was taught that as well. But ten years later.


    I had my car repaired.
    I (SUBJECT, FIRST AGENT, SECOND PATIENT) had (ACTIVE-G, PASSIVE-S/CONSENT]) my car (FIRST OBJECT, SECOND PATIENT) repaired (COMPLEMENT, PASSIVE) [by someone (DISJ PRO, SECOND AGENT)].

    But consent as an active feature isn't so much the focus here, or emphasised; it's more subjective interpretation than semantic, however
    it might factor a bit into translation.

    I had the song sung.
    I (SUBJECT, FIRST AGENT) had (ACTIVE, COMPEL) the song (FIRST OBJECT, FIRST PATIENT) sung (COMPLEMENT, PASSIVE) [by someone (DISJ PRO, SECOND AGENT, SECOND PATIENT)].

    Here whoever does it is kind of both a patient and an agent. But if you leave him out you end up only having one agent and one patient.

    I had the children sing.
    I (SUBJECT, FIRST AGENT) had the children (FIRST OBJ, FIRST PATIENT, SECOND AGENT) sing [the song (SECOND OBJ)].

    So there's a bit of shuffling of grammatical roles, both in active-passive and subject/object. Some of the differences in which agents or patients are optional, and which aren't. In the third example, there's no room for a second patient at all.

    Also, this kind of construction is one of the few places where the remnants of a true passive voice in English remains (e.g it's not the general passive voice circumlocution to be + adj.). There's no room for the complement to be an adjective or room for a copula (to be) between the patient-subject and the passive verb, it is rather like the Latin passive voice in this respect: "I had my car be repaired" would be incorrect.
     

    Chouquette

    Senior Member
    france french
    Hello Qcumber,

    My sentence on the subject : 'My father had his car repaired yesterday'
    so the translation is 'Mon père a fait réparer hier'

    My father has his car repaired yesterday.
    = Mon père a fait réparer sa voiture hier.

    This is the car (that / which) my father had repaired yesterday.
    = Voici la voiture que mon père a fait réparer hier

    It's confused to me.
    Que c'est dificile.
    Chouquette.:)


    Chouquette don't forget there is a trap in the corresponding relative clause.

    My father has his car repaired yesterday.
    = Mon père a fait réparer sa voiture hier.

    This is the car (that / which) my father had repaired yesterday.
    = Voici la voiture que mon père a fait réparer hier.
     

    jetman

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    My father has his car repaired by the same mechanic every time he has an accident.

    Of course, the context is different....
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hello Qcumber,

    My sentence on the subject : 'My father had his car repaired yesterday'
    so the translation is 'Mon père a fait réparer hier'

    My father has his car repaired yesterday.
    = Mon père a fait réparer sa voiture hier.

    This is the car (that / which) my father had repaired yesterday.
    = Voici la voiture que mon père a fait réparer hier

    It's confused to me.
    Que c'est dificile.
    Chouquette.:)


    Sorry, Chouquette I mistyped "*has" for "had". Of course it's "had". I corrected my post accordingly. How embarrassing!
    My father had his car repaired yesterday.
    = Mon père a fait réparer sa voiture hier.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    While we're at it, would you not try to avoid the ambiguity? This is the car my father had repaired yesterday. But obviously he hadn't repaired it properly.

    The father didn't repair the car. It was repaired by a mechanic.

    In the relative clause "had" and "repaired" do not belong to the same verbal phrase: they belong to two different clauses.

    The subject of "had" is "my father". The clause [my father had [Y] ] is the matrix.

    The subject of "repaired" (a truncated passive voice) is "car (that)", or, to be more precise the empty trace (Ø) left by the antecedent in the relative clause. The embedded clause [car repaired] > [Ø repaired] fill the Y slot in the matrix.

    [my father had] [the car repaired]
    > the car1 that [my father had] [Ø1 repaired]
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    The father didn't repair the car. It was repaired by a mechanic.
    Yes I know. :)
    Sorry if my question was not clear. I should have been less elliptic. Thus, you could have spared yourself the trouble of this long explanation. (it may benefit to others, though, therefore it's indeed welcome).

    I'll try to ask my quoted question again in a more elaborate way
    LV said:
    would you not try to avoid the ambiguity?(post #32)
    In other words, by......
    (1) This is the car my father had repaired yesterday
    ......the speaker means (2) "my father took this car to the mechanic and had it repaired". Right. You'd already made that perfectly clear in your post #23.
    But how can you stop the addressee from understanding it the wrong way, i.e. (3) "my father had repaired a car yesterday; here it is"?

    So my question is : would you say (1) just like that, without any further comment or warning, if you meant (2)? Even though you knew (3) might be understood instead of (2)? Or would you add something? Or would you word it in a totally different way, like
    See this car? My father had it repaired yesterday.
    ?

     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    But how can you stop the addressee from understanding it the wrong way, i.e. (3) "my father had repaired a car yesterday; here it is"?

    Oh, I see! In my humble opinion, the ambiguity doesn't exist because the only two possible sentences are.

    1) My father repaired a car yesterday.
    [The father himself repaired a car, not a mechanic.]

    2) My father had a car repaired yesterday.
    [A mechanic repaired the car because the father had ordered him to do so.]

    For me,

    3) "*My father had repaired a car yesterday."

    is wrong unless you continue the sentence to provide a preterit that will anchor it in the past. For instance, we could say:

    4) Yesterday, my father had repaired a car when, suddenly, he remembered the same car had been repaired the week before.
    = Hier, mon père avait réparé une voiture lorsque, tout à coup, il se souvint / s'est souvenu que cette même voiture avait déjà été réparée la semaine d'avant.

    Let's hope other forumites will express their view on this particular point.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thank you Qcumber, I get your point.
    But what about
    Oh, look! The car has broken down again. How come? This is the car my father had repaired yesterday.
    Regarde-moi ça ! La voiture est encore en panne ! Comment c'est possible ? C'est la voiture que mon père avait réparé hier.

    I thought maybe if the car breaks down you would use the pluperfect because a new event occured in the meantime.
    But I may be wrong...I may be "thinking in French".
     

    NorthCarolinian

    Senior Member
    English USA
    There are a couple of points to make here LV4. I think you ask some extremely good questions!

    First of all, there's no avoiding the fact that there is domain specific information here. Which is to say that in this day and age, although some folks do still work on their own cars (me for example on an older car of mine), the majority of folks just don't do this that much any more. I have the idea that a lot of English speakers and listeners incorporate this domain specific information when speaking or hearing this sentence. The simple fact is that there is a very strong probability that my 60 year old father wasn't under the car replacing the transmission - far more likely that he took it to a mechanic who actually performed the work.

    The next point is that there is a slight clue in the use of the word "repaired". Again, I'm speaking of probabilities, not certainties. But there is an oh so slight sense when the word repaired is used that supplies the connotation of a more formal process. Don't forget we have another word i.e. "fixed". As you probably know, an anglophone is often aware of the two words for each situation and the choice of word in some cases does convey information. If my father had worked on the car himself, I would much more likely have chosen the word "fixed" or "worked on" or "spent the day working on" (things don't always go so smooth when your doing the work yourself ;) ). This distinction is not one that anyone could absolutely rely on, but it is a shade of meaning that exists nevertheless. I might choose to "respond" to a letter from an attorney but if you were my personal friend I might "write you back". So as English speakers we are often subconsciously aware of the 2 words that mean the same thing and choose the one that fits the situation best - kind of like "tu" and "vous" but applied to more words :)

    Oftentimes the more formal word is Latin or French, while the less formal word is Anglo Saxon (like the "respond" and "write back" example). In this case, "repair" and "fix" both exist in French, although "fix" in French means only one thing (stationary) while in English it has two meanings (stationary and to repair). So while "fix" exists in French, it's meaning "to repair" does not. And this word "sounds" more Anglo Saxon to me than repair. So the rule that the Latin word is the more formal doesn't strictly apply here, but it partially does.

    I think there may be one more nuance in addition. In most of the cases, the cues I mentioned above are sufficient. But also in spoken English there is the opportunity to stress certain words more than others - something that doesn't translate well to a written format such as this board. If, in spoken English one wished to erase any ambiguity I think one would say something like

    This is the car that my father had repaired yesterday

    i.e. stressing both words because essentially both verbs are important - the verb of having something done and the verb of repairing.

    vs.

    This is the car that my father had repaired yesterday.

    In this case we only stress the "repaired" verb because the other verb is just an auxilliary.

    Also if context and stressing syllables aren't enough we can also say things like "had had repaired" or "had gotten repaired" to further eliminate ambiguity.

    So I think we have domain specific knowledge (a lot of people don't work on their own cars), choice of verb (repair vs. fix), which words to accent in speech, and finally using extra words like ("had had" or "had gotten"). At some point the listener is going to arrive at the correct meaning, one would hope!
     

    john_riemann_soong

    Senior Member
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    The passive voice implies another agent (other than the father).

    And again (if it was missed), the role of the word "repaired" in this situation is a unique aspect of the passive voice which is not found in English very often, since most passive uses usually consist of "subject + to be (conjugated) + adj.". But "had his car be repaired" doesn't make sense here, so it's arguably not using circumlocution form.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thanks NorthCarolinian, that's perfectly clear.

    No, jrs, it wasn't missed. (at least not by me). I understand that the underlying structure is the same in both constructions (He had the children sing / He had the song sung) :
    (1) Noun - HAVE - Noun - Verb (active voice)
    (2) Noun - HAVE - Noun - Verb (passive voice)
    and "be" is then removed from (2).
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Regarde-moi ça ! La voiture est encore en panne ! Comment c'est possible ? C'est la voiture que mon père avait réparée hier.

    Well, for me :), your last sentence is wrong because yesterday is finished while today (when the car breaks down again) is not.

    I'd rewrite the whole sequence as:

    Oh, look! The car has broken down again. How come? This is the car my father repaired yesterday.
    or even
    did repair yesterday.
     

    john_riemann_soong

    Senior Member
    English, Singlish, Chinese; Singapore
    How is it wrong? That's the pluperfect, I think.

    Thanks NorthCarolinian, that's perfectly clear.

    No, jrs, it wasn't missed. (at least not by me). I understand that the underlying structure is the same in both constructions (He had the children sing / He had the song sung) :
    (1) Noun - HAVE - Noun - Verb (active voice)
    (2) Noun - HAVE - Noun - Verb (passive voice)
    and "be" is then removed from (2).

    I'm not sure if "be" was ever present to be removed in the first place ... I wondered how the Old English writers would have done this
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thanks Qcumber. I think I'll have you spellcheck my posts in French before submitting them. Good old "participe passé avec avoir" :eek: . Guess I'm not ready yet for la dictée de Bernard Pivot.

    No, this is not mere chat, mind you : I used "have you spellcheck". :p
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The passive voice implies another agent (other than the father).

    The father is not the agent; he is the subject of the causative verbal phrase "had".
    The subject of the truncated passive verbal phrase "repaired" is "car".

    In the passive voice, the agent can be either surfaced or kept deep down in the underlying structure. :)

    In the causative structure we are dealing with, the buried agent of the embedded passive clause is seldom surfaced, but can be if necessary. Compare:

    1) Where is the car my father had repaired yesterday?
    = Où est la voiture que mon père a fait réparer hier?
    [agent hidden]

    2) Where is the car my father had repaired yesterday by the new mechanic?
    = Où est la voiture que mon père a fait réparer hier par le nouveau mécanicien?
    [agent revealed]
     
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