Sunday, February 19


(This is a Re-Post! This means this topic has already been published before. But if it's your first time to see it, go ahead!!) ;-)

Imagine this situation: your friend has a new hairstyle...

What would you ask him?

A.      Did you cut your hair?

B.      Have you had your hair cut?

C.      Have you cut your hair?

D.      Have you a haircut?

Although Choice B looks different, it is in fact the correct answer.

Choices A, C and D aren't good because they all mean the person cut his hair himself - without any help from anybody. 

Now, try to compare these sentences:

1. Let’s take a picture!     -vs.-    2. Let’s have a picture taken!

If you are like some women who enjoy holding the camera and taking a picture of themselves, you should use Sentence No. 1.

If you enjoy holding the camera and taking a picture of trees or mountains, you should use Sentence No.1.

But if you want to stand with your friend away from the camera with a beautiful view in the background, while somebody else (maybe a stranger) is taking your picture, you should use Sentence No.2.

In short, “Let’s take a picture” means the speakers will hold the camera and take a picture (of themselves). On the other hand, “Let’s have a picture taken” means the speakers will not be holding the camera because somebody else will take the picture.

This difference is important.

*Note: In casual style, "Let's take a picture" and "Where did you cut your hair?" are also accepted even if somebody else does the action. 

But especially for you as a student who isn't so familiar yet with this structure, it's better to practice what is more grammatical:

Where did you have your hair cut?     -- and --

Let's have a picture taken.  


The grammar structure that we are learning here is “Have Something P.P.

Other examples of it are:

Have Something P.P.

1.       Have my computer fixed

2.       Have my house painted

3.       Have my car washed

4.       Have my room cleaned

5.       Have my meals cooked

This structure is often used to talk about “service.” Because the situations for HAVE SOMETHING P.P. usually involve professional people (repairperson, hairstylist, mechanic etc.) and payment.


1. Although this structure looks like the Present Perfect (Have P.P.), they are completely different.

2. This structure isn't part of the Causative Verbs

(If you want to have a review of the Causative Verbs, just watch Click: "HAVE, GET, LET and MAKE.")

3. This structure isn't Passive Voice either.

In fact, the common complaint is that HAVE SOMETHING P.P. is very similar to many other structures in English, that’s why many students get confused.

Especially if I change HAVE SOMETHING P.P. into informal style:

I had my computer fixed.
I got my computer fixed.       (casual)

We are having our house painted.
We are getting our house painted.   (casual)

Again, this looks like another Causative Verb: Get Somebody + to V !

MY ADVICE: When you start getting confused, just keep in mind that the Causative Verbs are always followed by Somebody, not Something.

Ex. Have Somebody + Base, Get Somebody + to V

But HAVE SOMETHING P.P. is followed by Something, not Somebody. 


After reading this, you can also listen to a discussion of the same topic. 

If you have iTunes, just go to podcasts and search for Cool Elf. You can subscribe and get the free audio file there. 

If you don't have iTunes, you can also download the file here: 

Good luck! 

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