Lesson Sixteen

The use of get and have as

Causative Verbs

As you have noticed, the Green Level is focused entirely on the passive voice. Normally the passive voice is constructed with the verb "be" or "get" and then the past participle. However, there are other similar verb constructions you should know about. This lesson introduces you to the causative form.

have + the past participle

I have my oil changed once every three months.


get + the past participle

I get my oil changed once every three months.

Both sentences have the same meaning. What makes them different from the passive voice is the word order:

S + V + DO + V

Generally, when you use this word order, it sounds like you had some kind of work done for you. You paid someone or got someone to do something and you didn’t do anything.



He got his hair cut by a barber.

(A professional barber did the work.)


The man had the barber

give him a haircut.

Note: If a person doing the work comes after the verb, the verb is in the simple form. If a thing comes after the verb, the verb is in the form of the past participle. In the first sentence, the word "cut" is a past participle. In the second sentence, "give" is in the simple form. This is also explained in the video below.

man getting a haircut
They had their house painted blue.

(Professional painters did the work.)


They had a company paint

their house.


She got her teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist.


She had the hygienst clean her teeth.

teeth cleaning


More examples:

  • She had her nails manicured by a manicurist.
  • We get our car fixed by a mechanic.
  • I get my taxes done every year by an accountant.

Are you ready for a quiz?

Next: Lesson Seventeen