Source: http://hcot.ir/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Longman_English_Grammar.pdf

page No 258

uses of 'have' + object + past participle

  1. In the sense of 'experience

You should understand by now You've had it explained often enough' (= it has been explained to you)

When he got up to speak the minister had eggs thrown at him

How above sentences shows the experience ? These sentences just looks like causative form.

  1. To describe the present result of past action

We now have the problem solved

How this sentence has the present result of past action ? If we remove now It will be the causative sentence, won't it?

1 Answer 1


There are four distinct constructions which employ HAVE with a past participle and an object. One is the perfect construction, which I assume you are familiar with; the others I'll call the causative, the experiential and the attained-state constructions.

Below I use the conventional form VERBen for the past participle.


I have explained it to you. –I performed the explanation.
Demonstrators have thrown eggs at the minister. –The demonstrators performed the throwing.

  • In this construction, SUBJECT is the AGENT of VERB, and OBJECT typically lies after the past participle.


    In the other three constructions the OBJECT of VERB lies between HAVE and VERBen, and SUBJECT is the AGENT only of HAVE, not of VERB.



I will have it explained to you (by my secretary).
The opposition had eggs thrown at the minister (by paid demonstrators).

  • In this construction, SUBJECT is the AGENT of HAVE in the sense "induce, cause", but the action of VERBen is carried out by some other party: SUBJECT causes that other party to perform the action. VERBen is in effect a passive participle; if the AGENT of VERB is to be named that must be done with a by phrase, exactly as in the passive construction.


1a. You've had it explained often enough.

  • In this construction, SUBJECT undergoes the experience of OBJECT being VERBen; again, VERBen is a passive participle and its action is carried out by some other party. Distinguish this from the perfect (it was not you who explained) and from the causative (you didn't cause somebody else to explain it) —You have undergone the experience of its being explained.

1b. The minister had eggs thrown at him.

  • Distinguish this from the perfect (it was not the minister who threw the eggs) and from the causative (the minister didn't incite somebody else to throw eggs at him)—The minister underwent the experience of eggs being thrown at him.


We now have the problem solved.

  • Longman's description is I think misleading. In this construction HAVE retains its core lexical sense of "hold, possess, receive", and the past participle is basically an adjectival object complement: We have the problem [and it has been] solved or We have the problem [and it is] in a solved state. VERBen is emphatically 'perfective', it names a state which OBJECT has attained—which is probably the reason for Longman's description.

    This construction in fact appears to be the oldest of the four constructions, present in both Germanic and Romance languages—even Latin—and it is widely conjectured to be the origin of the perfect construction. Today the attained-state construction is used mostly to introduce the fact of OBJECT's VERBen state as a launching point for describing what can be done next: "We have the problem solved, so we can move ahead to ...".

  • 1
    With all respect, and with interest in and appreciation for the care, thought, and rigor that obviously inform both this answer and the following commentary, I fear there are exactly two chances that the OP will understand it: Slim and None, and Slim is out of town. Nov 17, 2016 at 21:50
  • 2
    @P.E.Dant We've always had a bunch of really skinny OPs around here (someday when you've got nothing better to do, look up the questions from Listenever and KinzleB) who lust after detailed technical explanations. The beauty of the multi-Answer format is that everybody's free to answer at whatever length and in whatever idiom strikes their fancy--and thus all our users, beginners and sophisticates alike, get a satisfying answer. At least that's the theory. Nov 17, 2016 at 21:59
  • @P.E.Dant (But there's also a degree of "Je n'ai l'ait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.") Nov 17, 2016 at 22:03
  • 1
    @Stoneyb. Very good answer ! But the so called experiential construction is often confused with Causative construction, both are- Have+object+past participle, How to distinguish ? Next, In "we now have the problem", if we remove "now", it will be causative too.
    – yubraj
    Nov 18, 2016 at 1:03
  • 1
    @yubrajsharma If you look at my conversation with FumbleFingers in the comments you will see my answer -- "Context, context, context!" ... For instance: simple present We have the problem solved will only be used causatively if you are speaking of repeated, habitual problems and solutions: Whenever we encounter such-and-such we have the problem solved by Joe. If you are speaking of a single solved problem, the default understanding is attained-state. Nov 18, 2016 at 1:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .