We usually have my mother (to) stay over Christmas

What differences in meaning or otherwise are due to the insertion of TO ?

OED HAVE (vb) : https://oed.com/oed2/00103269

2 Answers 2


Idiomatic usage:

To have someone do something.

To have my mother stay over Christmas.

To have my son cut the grass.

To have my husband fix the car.

To have someone to dinner. [to invite them for dinner or lunch] To have someone to lunch.

That is not the same idiom.

With the to preposition:

One British consultant suggested a semantic difference: She had her to stay implies an invitation, whereas She had her stay suggests an unwilling imposition. 1990 Aug. 26 Sunday Times Magazine 9/1.

British and American English differences_Cambridge_Studies in the English Lanugage

  • This doesn't answer the OP's question.
    – Astralbee
    Apr 26, 2021 at 14:18
  • 1
    With to, it means invite, and without it means make someone do something.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 14:42
  • oed.com/oed2/00103269
    – GJC
    Apr 26, 2021 at 14:58
  • @GJC I have answered the question.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 15:10

"Have someone to stay" is an idiomatic way (in British English at least) of saying you received a guest, usually overnight. In this usage, "have" means to possess - you have a guest in your house. It is comparable with "having someone to dinner".

"Have" can also mean that to cause something to happen or someone to do something. So to "have someone stay" could mean that you caused them stay - perhaps that you insisted they stay. For example, "she wanted to leave the hospital and go home today, but the doctor had them stay another night just to be sure".

  • what is TO here?
    – GJC
    Apr 26, 2021 at 13:48
  • I heartily disagree with this reading. The to is unidiomatic at best.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 14:02
  • @GJC It's a preposition, just as in "have someone to dinner". Inviting someone "to stay".
    – Astralbee
    Apr 26, 2021 at 14:23
  • The question is not idiomatic. To have mother stay over Christmas. No, to. To have someone to dinner is not the same thing.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 14:24
  • 1
    To have someone to stay sounds like the person is invited. To have someone stay is not an express invitation but more like make someone do something.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2021 at 14:35

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