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Which form should I use to imply continuity(persistence) for the event?

1- We had a strange woman come to the door selling pictures. (Did the strange woman use to come to the door regularly?)

2- I have my hair cut. (Does that mean I have somebody to hair my cut regularly?)

3- I just had them doing stretch routines, and after, they got really good at it.

4- I have somebody cleaning my car.

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  • No 1 has a different meaning of have: "experience" rather than "cause".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 20:25

1 Answer 1

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When referring to a regular event in the present sense (it currently is a regular event), the specific verb for the event is usually used.

I get my hair cut.

I drink wine with my dinner.

However, "have" is still valid, though typically only used when other verbs don't work. This is paired with a present tense verb.

I have someone clean my car.

We have someone restock the shelves.

When "have" is paired with a continuous verb, it implies that the event is happening currently. Whether the event is regular is ambiguous.

I have someone cleaning my car right now.

We have someone restocking the shelves as we speak.


When referring to a regular event that happened in the past but is either no longer a regular event, or you're not sure if it's still a regular event, "had" is used. However, some additional context is usually required to define it as a continuous event rather than a single event.

We had a strange woman come to the door on Wednesdays.

I just had them doing stretch routines, and after a week, they got really good at it.

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