What does the word "have" in this context mean? (I know the meanings of this word but this sentence really sound difficult to me how to understand it correctly. I saw a lot definitions for this word on Cambridge so I don't really know to which meaning the writer means).

What to Do Have your child complete the problems on each page. Point out that they can check their answers by adding the answer to the second number. If that answer matches the first number, they know the answer is correct. For example 6 − 2 = 4/4 + 2 = 6.

Some of the pages have a quilt pattern on them. After your child has completed the problems, have him or her color the quilt according to the directions at the bottom of the page.

  • I've replaced your tag with that for [causative-have]. Click that and you'll find many questions about this. Sep 13, 2018 at 21:11

3 Answers 3


To have somebody do something (here: 'have him or her color the quilt') means to cause/get somebody to do something (e. g. to ask, to suggest - in context with a child; to persuade, to force etc. - in another context). The expression uses bare infinitive (in the place of 'do' in the template). Here's a more detailed explanation of grammar behind it:



To have somebody do something is a causative and it means "to get (or cause) somebody to do something".

It indicates that a person (which refers to parents in your sentence) who has the control over someone (which refers to the child in your sentence) can cause him/her (the child) to do something (to color the quilt).


As has been said, this is the "causative have". It is more common in US English than British - the entry in the (US) Merriam-Webster has it:

"7 a : to cause or command to do something

—used with the infinitive without to.

have the children stay"

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