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Recently I was watching an anime named Armed Girl's Mischiavellism (DUB). In episode 7 at 2:37 - 2:40 minutes, the guy says:

Did she have us figured out all along?

Is this sentence correct? If so, then why didn't he say "figure" after using "did"? I'm not a native English speaker and I'm confused. I know we use base form (1st form) after "did" but this sentence contradicts that rule (or maybe not, I'm not sure)?

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  • I wonder if you are really interested in how this works?
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2021 at 20:48
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    He said "figured" after using have
    – minseong
    Apr 20, 2021 at 1:03

4 Answers 4

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The base form of 'have' is correct after 'did'. To 'have something or someone figured out' is a complete verb phrase, and you don't alter 'figured'.

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    You did not even explain how it works.
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2021 at 20:48
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Usable grammar: Causative have or get

have + object + past participle

Using have or get this way is called causative:

  • I had my hair cut.
  • She got the work done.
  • We have our house cleaned every week.
  • They had us figured out.

They had us figured out. = declarative simple past tense.
Did they have us figured out? = interrogative simple past tense.

The past participles in this usage does not change. Only the get or have verbs change as can be seen in the example just given.

Reference on causatives:

causatives

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    While this answer answers why it is "figured", it doesn't answer why it is not "figure". Also, it is only applicable in this case. Note that you can also have "Did you have someone repair my car?". Apr 19, 2021 at 14:52
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    It answers it absolutely. All you have to do is read it. And you missed the boat: **I got my car repaired"//I had my car repaired. = causative have/get. Your example is not causative usage.
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2021 at 14:55
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    Causative would be: He almost got them killed. They got them fired. get/have plus object plus past participle.
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2021 at 14:59
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    Compare "I had my secretary informed" and "I had my secretary inform my boss". In the first case the secretary is the object of "to inform", and in the second case the secretary is the subject.
    – Peter
    Apr 19, 2021 at 15:01
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    @Lambie - "Or shall we throw the whole book at them at once?" Yes, and the bookcase with it, as Ted Hastings would say. Apr 19, 2021 at 15:42
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The sentence as given is correct, and the past participle is the correct form. The first part of the sentence could be approximately rephrased "She had figured us out". The rule you are referring to applies to a different situation, something like "She had us figure out the answer". In this second case us/we are doing the figuring - solving the problem, but in your sentence we are the problem.

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  • @CarstenS yes there is a subtle difference. I have added the word "appropriately" to allow for it.
    – Peter
    Apr 20, 2021 at 12:42
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The problem with your rule is that it is oversimplified and misleading. However, that is unfortunately a common way of teaching English in school. Teachers tend to oversimplify the grammar to make learning 'easy'.

The rule such as "the verb must be in the plain form when followed by 'did'" is not applicable in your case because the logic suggests that if X is followed by Y and Y is followed by Z, it entails that X is followed by Z. This is very misleading for the learners of English because it implies that all verbs that follow "did" in a sentence must be plain.

As a non-native speaker, the general rule of thumb that I think is accurate and has never led me astray is that:

A verb should be in the plain form after "did" only when there's no other verb intervening between them.

This is because the verb that follows "did" is usually the complement of and therefore is licensed by (dependent on) the verb "did". So in this case, only the verb "have" is in the plain form. "Figured" cannot be in the plain form because the verb "have" intervenes between "did" and "figured".

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  • Rules are part of a hierarchy, the causative usage here supersedes the non-causative usage or rules for simple SVOs. So, in fact, your explanation is not what an English teacher would provide.
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2021 at 15:09
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    I think that to be most precise, the way I'd phrase the rule is that the word "did" takes as a complement a phrase whose head is a verb in the plain form. In the original question, the complement of the word "did" is the phrase "have us figured out all along," and the head of this phase is "have," which, sure enough, is in the plain form. This also works with, for example, the question "Did the man who listened hear anything?"—in this question, the complement of the word "did" is the phrase "hear anything," whose head is "hear," which, sure enough, is in the plain form. Apr 19, 2021 at 21:04
  • For what it's worth, if I were teaching English to a speaker of Spanish or Polish, I'd point out the way that the English question "Did you eat?" would translate literally into their native language—for Spanish, it'd be "¿Hiciste tú comer?" and for Polish, it'd be "Zrobiłeś ty zjeść?" Of course, both that Spanish sentence and that Polish sentence are ridiculous nonsense, but they're understandable nonsense (just like "Why ate sandwich you?" is understandable English nonsense), and hopefully these sentences would give them a little bit of an idea why English works that way. Apr 19, 2021 at 21:12
  • @TannerSwett - "Why ate dog you?" could be ambiguous. Apr 20, 2021 at 8:21

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