Have something done

Take a look at these two sentences. What is the difference in meaning between them?

‘I cut my hair.’
‘I have my hair cut.’

‘I cut my hair’ means that I do it myself.
‘I have my hair cut means someone cuts my hair for me (in this case it’s probably a hairdresser).

We use ‘have something done’ to mean another person does a service for us.

The grammar for this is pretty simple:

Have + object + past participle

Let’s take a look at a few more examples:

‘We didn’t want to cook so we had a pizza delivered.’
‘I had my car washed at that new place by the station.’
‘I had my watch fixed.’

We can also use ‘get’ instead of ‘had’ and the meaning stays the same. The sentences above now become:

‘We didn’t want to cook so we got a pizza delivered.’
‘I got my car washed at that new place by the station.’
‘I got my watch fixed.’

future
‘I had my watch fixed’ tells us about the past.
‘I am going to have/get my watch fixed’ tells us about the future.

‘Going to’ tells us about a future plan that has already been made.

We use ‘will’ for something that has just been decided:

I’ve just noticed how dirty my suit is. I will have/get it cleaned soon.’

questions
Imagine that you like your friend’s new haircut; you could ask her:

‘Where did you have/get your hair cut?’

Maybe you have just moved to a new town and you decided that it is time for a haircut; you can ask:

‘Where can I have/get my hair cut?’

You want to know if your friend’s car has been fixed yet; you can ask:

‘Did you have your car fixed?’

services for a busy world
As we all live in a busy world, we don’t have the time (or skills)to do all the things that we need to. That’s why we have a service industry that will help us get what need ‘done.’

Take a look at these examples:

A jeweller is a place where you can have your watch fixed.
A dry cleaner is a place where you can have your suit cleaned.
A florist is a place where you can have flowers delivered.
A hairdresser is a place where you can have your hair cut.
A dentist is a place where you can have your teeth checked.
An optician is a place where you can have your eyes checked.
A garage is a place where you can have your car repaired.

using have something done for bad things
In all the examples above we have looked at services we can pay for if we want. We can also use the same expression when someone does something bad to us. For example:

‘Jenny had her car stolen.’ Here Jenny did not want someone to steal her car, but someone did it.
‘Have you ever had your nose broken in a fight?’ Nobody wants to have their nose broken, but it could happen!