Hello, again!


Oh, my, it’s been ages since I’ve posted anything! Well, 20 days to be more precise… I must apologize, but as a lot of people do at the end of the year, I was quite busy working and also having my health checked. I had my blood taken to have some tests run and I’ve had my eyes checked, too. Everything is just fine!

Have you noticed the underlined sentences above? They all refer to things I can’t do myself, but need other people to do them for me. To express that idea, we use the following structure: HAVE* + something + DONE. The verb ‘have‘ can be used in any verb tense; the ‘something‘ is what somebody will do for you instead of you doing it yourself; ‘done‘ means that you have to use the past participle of the verb (the 3rd column, remember?).

Now, can you think of other examples of things you have done for you? Let’s see…

– My husband has his hair cut every couple of weeks.

– We’ve just had our cair repaired. It’s working well now!

– We couldn’t use the classroom because the school was having it painted.

– Flight attendants must have their nails done every week.

– After rejecting the take-off, the pilots had the tires checked as a precaution.

We don’t usually have to say who has done something for us, because it’s usually obvious (who else is going to repair a car but a mechanic?). But if necessary, you may add ‘by someone‘ after the ‘have something done’ structure, just to be more specific. For example:

– My mother used to have her hair cut by my grandmother when she was a child.

* you may use the verb ‘get’ instead of ‘have’.

6 Comments

Filed under learn, tips

6 responses to “Hello, again!

  1. Hi Carolina.
    Very nice post. Some time ago I used to teach this subject to my students and they often found difficults when using the structure. But you explained it very well, as usual! But I have a question regarding the term “couple” that was given in the first example. I work with translation nowadays and I’m always noticing that some translators, especially in the movies subtitles, translate as “alguns/algumas” and “casal”. I’ve already seen “poucos/poucas”. Do you have some kind of tip to help me with that? Thanks in advance and I wish you Happy Holidays!

    • Hello, Priscila! Thanks for being a usual reader! Anyway, you’re right, the expression “a couple (of)” means different things depending on the context, and it can be confusing…
      It means ‘a male and a female’ in this exchange: “You have a son and a daughter, right?” “Yes, a couple”.
      It means ‘two people romantically involved’ here: “They’re such a cute couple!”
      It means ‘not a large number’ in these examples: “I stayed in Paris just a couple of days, but I was able to see a lot!”/ “I need to pick up a couple of things before we leave”.
      But what is ‘not a large number’? It may be 2 or 3 for me, or 4 or 5 for you… As Einstein said, “it’s all relative”…
      Let me know if this has helped!!
      xxx
      Carol

  2. João B. L. Ghizoni

    I enjoyed your text immensely, Carolina. Very good explanation and examples.

    I’m only sorry for the frequency Brazilians are using the causative form (exemplified by you in this post) in Portuguese! They’re “importing” this structure from the English language and the result is often disastrous! I really loathe that!

    • You’re absolutely right, João. We should refrain from ‘importing’ whole structures from other languages lest we end up with such gems as the ‘gerund’ craze that came by some years ago and is still haunting us… Thanks for checking in on the blog regularly!

  3. Hey Carolina!
    Thanks for the examples, it’s just the context that counts, let’s read between the lines, then! Nice Holidays for you and your folks.

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