to get somebody do/to do/doing something

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Babbit, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. Babbit Member

    Brescia, Italy
    What's the difference between "to get somebody do something", "to get somebody to do something" and "to get somebody doing something"?
  2. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    "To get someone to do something" is a standard phrase, meaning to ask them to paint the house, lend you some money etc.
    We also say "have someone do something" (without to). This may explain why some people say "get someone repair your car", which is either very informal or non-standard.

    "To get someone doing something" means to get them started in some way on doing something. For example, I got my father talking about his experiences in the war. This means that I persuaded or encouraged him to talk. It doesn't mean simply to ask him to talk.
    Another example: The news got me thinking about my sister (= it made me think, it resulted in me thinking).
    This is not an easy phrase to use since it does not always have a precise meaning.
  3. Babbit Member

    Brescia, Italy
    My dictionary says "I'll make you do something" is correct and "I'll make you to do something" is not. I thought this rule goes for "to get" too.
  4. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    There's no reason why the rule for have should be the same as for get.

    If someone owes you money and refuses to pay it back, you either make them repay it or get them to repay it. The meanings are different but the aim is the same.
  5. Nino83 Senior Member

    Hello everyone.
    I've the same problem.
    My dictionary (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary) says that:
    to get somebody to do = to get somebody doing = make, persuade somebody to do something
    to get something done = to cause something to happen or be done

    I was taught that also to get somebody do was possible but now, reading dictionaries, I've some little doubt.
    Is it informal/colloquial? Would you write, for example, the President got the Minister of Finance reduce cut spendings instead of got the Minister of Finance to reduce in a newspaper?
  6. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I presume you mean "reduce" or "cut", but not both. I would not write it in any circumstances. I would not say it either. I never read it and I never hear it.
  7. Nino83 Senior Member

    Yes, I meant reduce or cut (but in a hurry I wrote both). So the second sentence is wrong.

    Thank you!
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  8. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    The first sentence is wrong (the one without "to").
  9. Nino83 Senior Member

    Yes, of course.

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